Matt Ballard, MSW, MDiv, joined the Center in April as program manager at the Farm at Penny Lane, which houses the Center’s innovative mental health recovery programs such as Horticulture Therapy, Brushes with Life Arts program, UNC PAWS and wellness programs. The Farm typically serves individuals with serious mental illness.
He will work closely with Center patients and clinicians to respond to specific needs of individuals participating in the Farm’s programs. Ballard also plans to increase the Farm’s outreach and to strengthen partnerships with programs and departments at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Previously, he worked for four years as the farm manager at Benevolence Farm, a reentry support services organization in Alamance County, which provides case management, housing and employment programs for women transitioning from prison. Additionally, he worked from 2013-15, as a street outreach social worker for housing at New Hope’s PATH program in Orange County, linking individuals with serious mental health disorders or co-occurring substance use disorders with service providers.
“I am thrilled to have Matt join our recovery and rehabilitation programs at the Farm at Penny Lane. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience working with people who are marginalized and is a wonderful addition to our Center team,” said Thava Mahadevan, MS, LCAS, director of operations at the Center and the recovery programs at the Farm.
Ballard lives with his wife and two children on their working farm in Alamance County, where he grows produce year-round and sells to area restaurants and a local farmers’ market.
“I am very excited to be working with the Center to provide opportunities for patient wellness management and recovery,” he said.
He received dual masters from the UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work and from Duke Divinity School in 2012.