From left to right, on the stairs to the Coming Home Connection office:
Frances Salles, Paige Grant, Nyima Phoenix, Michelle Worstell, Leslie Wizner, Barbara Espinosa, Celia Owens. Not shown: Martha Vigil.
Frances Salles comes to Coming Home Connection with 30 years experience in international non-profits, including Age Concern England and Creativity for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian youth leadership program. Always an engaged member of her community, she was Treasurer of the Chelmsford Women’s Refuge 1993-1995; Neighborhood Mediator at Tower Hamlets 1998 – 2000; and has participated actively in the parent associations of her son’s schools in England and later in Santa Fe. She brings to Coming Home Connection an insistence on transparency, a commitment to serving underserved members of the community, and a talent for fundraising.
Director of Operations
Barbara worked for the New Mexican for her first dozen years after high school. She then went on to a career as a stay-at-home mom. She did property management for private clients for 15 years, and continues to moonlight with a few properties. Following a stint with the Tierra Nueva Counseling Center, she joined Coming Home Connection, where she quickly established systems to ensure seamless scheduling of care for Coming Home Connection clients. She has had much to do with making Coming Home Connection run like a well-oiled machine.
Paige Grant put in a full career in hydrology and environmental activism, including founding the Santa Fe Watershed Association and serving as its Executive Director for 7 years. She thought she was retiring to write children’s books and learn to farm in southern Taos County, when Celia Owens recruited her in 2018 to fill a part-time bilingual scheduler position with Coming Home Connection. That role has morphed into serving as an assistant to Frances in fundraising and various writing and logistical tasks. She still responds to care requests and scheduling needs on a fill-in basis.
Celia Owens has been a caregiver in her own family since her teens, a hospice volunteer in Santa Fe since 1990, and a Coming Home Connection caregiver and staff member since 2015. She currently serves CHC as Volunteer Coordinator (“Volunteering is the new dating!”) and Navigator – “navigation” is about steering clients to resources over and above those that CHC can provide. Among other credentials, she has an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies (“ — you have to be willing to get nowhere for a while –”), and is a certified coach in Conversational Intelligence, asking questions for which the answers are not known. She made her home in New York City for three decades and Italy for one. She is a life-long artist.
Martha Vigil was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. She in turn raised her family in Santa Fe, completed her degree in nursing and put in a full career as a registered nurse. Her nursing experience includes the Emergency Department; Medical/Surgical; Pediatrics, including Pediatric Intensive Care; Geriatrics; Family Practice; and out-patient care at the Breast Institute, all at St. Vincent Hospital. She also worked with the New Mexico Department of Health as Nurse Surveyor Supervisor, investigating medical facilities licensed in the State to confirm compliance with Medicare regulations, and initiating corrective action in the case of non-compliance. For Coming Home Connection, Martha oversees intakes at Casa Cielo and assists with assessments of CHC home-care clients, supporting caregivers who have concerns about their client’s medical condition. An avid cyclist, Martha has completed over 2000 road miles over the past few years.”
Michelle Worstell divides her time with Coming Home Connection between caregiving and serving as office staff. She also is a silversmith, and has had her own business, Nila Bindu Jewelry, since 2002. She discovered her gift for caregiving – her compassion and nurturing nature – through mothering her now-grown sons. She later took care of her mother at the end of her life. Following that passage, Michelle enrolled in CHC’s caregiver training. She has been caring for CHC clients since August 2018, and began assisting with scheduling the following year. She agrees with Martha that time on two wheels is time well spent.
Coming Home Kids Coordinator
Nyima Phoenix holds a degree in Business Management and is trained in conflict resolution: she was past Vice President of the New Mexico Mediation Association. Her work with non-profits included 7 years at a Community Clinic, where she managed the team that did intake, counseling and social work; and 4 years at a pediatric clinic, where she earned a reputation as “baby-tamer” for her ability to calm distressed infants.