BrightView Health community outreach manager named first NKY Reentry Champion

Haley Parnell
Haley Parnell
Haley is a reporter for LINK nky. Email her at [email protected]

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“I was a little bit distracted at the beginning when they were reading who was winning the award—I was trying to get registered to win the big TV,” Community Outreach Manager at BrightView Health Rebecca Bollens said. “It was buffering and buffering; finally, I gave up because they were talking about this person that’s winning this fabulous award, and I thought, ‘Wow, this is really great. I wonder who it is.'” 

Bollens entered the Northern Kentucky reentry scene in December 2020, and just under three years later, she was named the first Northern Kentucky Reentry Champion. She oversees BrightView Health’s Erlanger and Covington branches, which provide outpatient substance use treatment.

“She goes above and beyond to resolve problems to help people,” Brightview Health Outreach Director Karl Torrens said. “Just the empathy and the care that she has for this industry, for the patients and everything. What she does is second to none.”

Bollens said that being new to the NKY area and the substance use treatment arena, she found that the spirit of everyone working together in the area had been in place long before she arrived.

“I’ve never met a group of people that are less competitive, more about let’s do the right thing for the patient and everybody working together than in Northern Kentucky,” Bollens said. “I mean, hats off to this area. These people are all in. There’s a lot more money to be made at other jobs. These people are all in and doing it for all the right reasons.”

Bollens was given the first Northern Kentucky Reentry Champion award on July 27 at “Reentry Resource Night,” something she said was a complete surprise.

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“She was right next to me, and she was on her phone, and they’re up on stage reading who this person was, how they went about choosing someone,” Torrens said. “And when they mentioned her name, she was startled like, what just happened here?”

“They announced my name, and I’m like, ‘No way,'” Bollens said. “I thought, wow, this person must be fantastic from the sounds of this award. It really was shocking.”

Reentry Resource Night is an event put on by The Northern Kentucky Reentry Council to offer resources to individuals returning from incarceration, people seeking recovery resources, and community members. Bollens said roughly 750 people attended the event this year, including 69 vendors like herself that provide housing, jobs, financial assistance, and other services.

Reentry Resource Night event. Photo provided | Leigh Taylor
Reentry Resource Night event. Photo provided | Leigh Taylor

Bollens said BrightView Health works with other organizations in the community to help serve their patients. She said that between the Erlanger and Covington branches that she oversees, they have slightly over 1,000 patients.

Bollens said working in substance use treatment was an “eye-opener” for her on the type of people seeking help.

“A good portion of our patients are over 50 and became addicted because they had knee surgery, hip surgeries, shoulder surgery, and they did exactly what their doctor told them to do,” Bollens said.

Bollens referred to BrightView Health as a “new kid on the block,” and the organizations around longer have taken her under their wing to help in any way possible.

“I can’t tell you how many times—because we’re all working with the same people, and there is a set amount of resources out there—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve texted someone after hours—I have a lady that needs housing,” Bollens said. “I can’t think of anything. Can you think of anything? Everybody picks up the phone and calls me back. I’ve gotten these texts and calls.”

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Because of all the people that Bollens said have been so instrumental in everything she has learned, Bollens said she never considered they were talking about her when she was announced as the award winner.

Rebecca Bollens accepting her award at Reentry Resource Night. Photo provided | Leigh Taylor

“To feel appreciated by the people that you feel are the true professionals, as the new kid, it’s awe-inspiring, and it makes you want to work harder,” Bollens said. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful award every year.”

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