Please join the Reading YMCA in congratulating both Ryan Herrera and Gena Pina-Garcia as they transition into their NEW roles in the Social Services Housing Division.
Ryan has been promoted into the position of Executive Director of Social Services as of April 1, 2021. Ryan began working part-time at the YMCA of Reading in 2009 as a Case Manager Assistant while finishing his degree in Psychology from Temple University. He was promoted in 2010 to oversee the County’s Second Offender DUI program and worked in that position until 2014. In 2014, Ryan was given the opportunity to be part of the formation of Camp Joy; which at the time was a newly remodeled 20 bed transitional living facility serving males with substance use disorder that are also involved in the Berks County Criminal Justice System. Since then, Ryan has overseen the development of Camp Joy’s Recovery Housing and its day to day operations while also working in a supervisory role as the Director of Social Services within the Housing Department at the YMCA of Reading. Ryan is a member of the Berks Opioid Coalition editorial board and is currently his final year of study at Millersville University where he is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology.
Ryan holds multiple certifications from the Pennsylvania Certification Board including his CADC (Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor) and CRS (Certified Recovery Specialist) and was recognized for his work in the areas of addiction prevention and treatment at the 2018 Council on Chemical Abuse Yearly Conference.
Ryan states, “I have always strived to serve anyone struggling to overcome a substance use disorder with compassion, empathy, and the inherent dignity that all human relationships are founded upon and I am very thankful for all of the opportunities that working at the YMCA has afforded me.”
Gena was promoted to the Director of Housing and Baby University effective May 1, 2021. Gena began her career at the YMCA in 2008 as a Parent Educator/Home visitor with Baby University and was then promoted into that program’s Director. In addition, 5 years ago she was also asked to lead the Y Haven program. After successful oversight of both programs, it was an easy decision to offer her this new overall Housing Director position. Gena holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a certification in Addiction Studies, as well as an Associates in Psychology from Phoenix University. She is also a certified parent educator through Rutgers University.
When asked what her “Y” is, Gena told us that it was “inspiring others to live their best life, encouraging those that are down, and spreading a little kindness wherever I go.”
She also wanted to share a bit of wisdom with all individuals pursuing a similar career path: “People must connect with you before they can trust you; Always be you and never give up.”