Wendy Heines is the Chief Executive Officer of PAHrtners Deaf Services. She has over 20 years of experience establishing and operating behavioral healthcare programs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In January 2003, Wendy joined the newly formed Deaf Services Center (now known as PAHrtners Deaf Services) as its director. After several promotions, she assumed the role of chief executive officer in January 2010. Under Wendy’s leadership the PAHrtners’ staff has grown from 12 to more than 120 employees. Over 85 percent of those employees are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. During her tenure several programs have been added to PAHrtners’ range of services, including: Interpreting, Outpatient, Case Management, Community Living Arrangements for individuals who are Deaf with co-occurring developmental disabilities, and the Residential Treatment Facility for adolescents who are Deaf.
Wendy is most proud of this family called PAHrtners Deaf Services. “We set out to prove to the world that a team of Deaf professionals can run a behavioral support program,” said Wendy. “We have been told repeatedly by government regulatory bodies, by managed care organizations reviewing our work, and most importantly by the people we serve and their families that the quality of our work is exemplary. Our PAHrtners team is dedicated and passionate about the work we do because we “get it.” Deafness is our lives too!!”
Wendy has a progressive hearing loss which began in childhood. Now she is proudly Deaf. This is important, because it has allowed her to empathize with the life experiences of people who are hard of hearing and late deafened. Wendy has been a part of the Deaf community for over 25 years. She embraces Deaf culture, is an active member of the Deaf community and cherishes American Sign Language.
In 1991, Wendy graduated from Rutgers University with a Master’s degree in Social Work.
Wendy is a member of the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association (ADARA ). ADARA is a group of professionals networking together with the goal of providing excellence in service delivery to individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. She served as its Member at Large from 2003 to 2007, as well as co-chairing the ADARA National Conference in 2003. Additionally, Wendy is a lifetime member of the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf.
Melissa Watson PhD, LPC, BCBA
Vice President of Clinical/Residential Progams,
PAHrtners Deaf Services
Melissa obtained her social work degree from Bloomsburg University. She holds two master’s degrees – mental health counseling from Gallaudet University, and applied behavior analysis from Florida Institute of Technology.
Melissa has worked with children, adolescent and adults with behavioral challenges for over 20 years. After spending many of her professional years in Florida, she returned to her home state of Pennsylvania, to work at PAHrtners running the Residential Treatment Facility and Outpatient Programs. Recently Melissa was promoted to Vice President of the Residential Programs at PAHrtners Deaf Services.
Melissa graduated with her doctorate degree in Public Services Leadership specializing in Multidisciplinary Human Services from Capella University in January 2016.
Lauren Clarke, BA
Vice President/COO of Residential Programs
PAHrtners Deaf Services
Lauren Clarke joined the PAHrtners family in July of 2016. She has over 20 years of supervisory experience in residential management in both the school system and in psychological services. She graduated from Thomas Edison State College with BA in Communication Studies and is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work.
Lauren is a proud member of the Deaf community and strives to elevate others to a level of excellence. She fully empathizes with the struggles others experience in terms of communication and barriers to receiving services.
When Lauren has free time, she enjoys various hobbies such as: reading, family time and trying new things. The driving force behind Lauren’s work is: “Life is not intended to be easy. Challenges are there to teach us that life becomes more meaningful once we get through them.”