Integrity. . . honesty. . . commitment. These are the words Mary Rode, administrator for St. Vincent’s Center, uses to describe Mike Dunphy.
“Mike cares so deeply for the kids, the staff and the program. He is always looking for ways to improve things and he is dramatically responsible for changing how we work with children and families. He is one of the driving forces behind what we’ve been able to accomplish in the last decade,” Mary says proudly.
As the Director of Clinical and Residential Services for St. Vincent’s Center, Mike oversees the residential and clinical programs, coordinates new referrals and admissions ensuring a smooth transition for the children, and is responsible for compliance with regulatory and accreditation standards for the State.
Mike began working at St. Vincent’s Center as a child life counselor 16 years ago while pursuing his Master’s Degree in Psychology at Loyola College. He later worked as a therapist at Courage House and then a unit director. He’s been in his current position for 6 years.
“I’ve grown up here. St. Vincent’s has been a huge part of my adult life. I even met my wife here,” Mike says.
To say Mike is devoted to his job and to the children at St. Vincent’s Center is an understatement. He is on call 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, 365 days-a-year. He lives and breathes St. Vincent’s Center but says he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves his job and can’t imagine doing anything else.
“It is so wonderful to see a child learn to trust again and experience hope. I get to see them recapture their joy and sense of childhood. That is nothing short of miraculous,” Mike says.
Ezra Buchdahl, associate administrator of St. Vincent’s Center says, “A program is only as good as its people and Mike is a big reason why St. Vincent’s is the best Residential Child Care Facility in the State. He literally and figuratively has put his blood, sweat and tears into his work. He is a person with great personal and professional integrity and in my 20 years with Charities, I have not met anyone who works as hard and is as dedicated to high-quality residential care and treatment of children and families as Mike.”
But Mike cannot take all the credit. “The only way I can do the work I do is because I am surrounded by an amazing staff that is equally driven by the mission here.” He also credits his family for being so supportive of his schedule. His wife and three daughters, ages nine, seven and one, keep him grounded.
Mike says with a smile, “My best job in life is being a father and that is the one I am most proud of.”