Army officer’s wife, former Army reservist, social worker, volunteer and mom of two children, one of whom has a mental health diagnosis.
Lisa Howard has an impressive personal, professional and community service resume. Recently, she added a new position – Family Advocate at The Barry Robinson Center.
“Connector is the probably the best way to describe me,” Howard said. “I’m available to listen to the concerns a family member may be struggling with while their child resides at The Barry Robinson Center. My hope is to help them connect with staff at the Center, as well as to help them find the right resources.”
As a military spouse for 23 years, Howard and her family have moved 10 times, including two overseas duty stations. She also has personal experience with raising a special needs child in the military culture.
When her son was younger, Howard navigated the world of therapies, including speech, occupational and physical. Later, she faced the challenges of finding resources for his mental health needs. By changing school systems multiple times, she also experienced challenges with educational requirements and support.
“When you’re in the midst of it all, you may not know who to contact,” Howard explained. “I can help, by listening to military-connected parents and offering recommendations based on my knowledge and experience. I can also support families as they figure out what’s next when their child is ready for discharge from the Center.”
In the community, Howard helps build awareness in the military community and answers questions about The Barry Robinson Center. Recently, she made a joint presentation with another Center employee to the medical staff at Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia.
Howard was both an enlisted and officer in the Army Reserves from 1986 to 1998. She earned a Master’s in Social Work in 1999. Currently, she is 1stvice president with the Capital Area Military Spouses Club and loves supporting her daughter’s many high school activities.
“Probably the most cherished thing I do is volunteering as an Army Arlington Lady,” she said. “I attend funerals one day each month at Arlington National Cemetery and present a handwritten card to the next of kin on behalf of the Army Chief of Staff. It’s such an honor and a privilege.”
An encouraging advocate who has personal experience with The Barry Robinson Center where her son received care, Howard looks forward to easing parents’ concerns about residential treatment and helping them on the journey to healing.