Maureen Brennan is passionate about helping adolescents and young adults reach their amazing, rightful place in the world. She sees the spark, vitality and brilliance in every child she works with. And no matter what their circumstances may be, believes—that with the right support and tools—they can create a healthy, happy and successful life for themselves.
As an independent Educational and Therapeutic Program Placement consultant since 2004, Maureen works directly with adolescents, young adults and their families. She constantly tours schools and examines programs throughout the world to evaluate their clinical, recreational and academic components, a commitment that is essential to making successful placements.
Maureen’s motto is “Focus on the Family.” When she began her consulting practice she emphasized the importance of addressing her clients’ overall family dynamic, and helping every family member keep an open mind as they seek healthful change—a critical key to success. And rather than use words like “special needs” and “at risk” to describe her young clients, she chooses “non-traditional,” “outside the box” and “misunderstood” to honor their unique character and contributions, a proven perspective based on her many years working with kids.
Maureen’s inspiration for her life’s work dates back to when she was a teenager, encouraging her family and peers to discover the benefits of staying active, pursuing their passion and to always think outside the box. Her love of the outdoors and adventure attracted her to the University of Colorado where she lived what she believed. As a non-traditional learner and someone who struggled in high school, Maureen found at CU Boulder the opportunity she’d never had—experiential education, and a community of peers and academic professionals who validated her unique learning process—and, for the first time, she found she was enthusiastic about learning.
After graduating from CU Boulder, Maureen enjoyed working in the ski industry for a few years. Appreciating the physical and emotional benefits of a healthy recreational and holistic lifestyle, she wanted to share her insights with others. She entered the Experiential Therapy Graduate Program at New York University in 1998 and also teamed with a number of like-minded organizations. Under a federally funded grant for Safe and Drug Free Schools, for instance, she designed and developed a multicultural, multimedia program to boost drug awareness and resilience for Harlem middle school children. Maureen also developed a program to embolden the aspirations of entrepreneurial inner-city high schoolers from Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan for the New York City Police Athletic League.
After graduating from NYU Maureen worked in a rehabilitative hospital. Partnering with paraplegics, quadriplegics and amputees as a Recreation Therapist, she adapted sports and recreation activities to each patient’s disability and encouraged their passion to fuel their recovery. However, Maureen’s desire to work with adolescents led her to Stonington Institute, a residential treatment center in North Stonington, Connecticut. As Director of Experiential Therapy, Maureen worked with adolescents who struggled with co-occurring mental health and addiction issues. While there, she developed innovative and holistic programs, facilitated family therapy and directed individual treatment to help clients reach their goals—an approach that is at the heart of her strengths and core beliefs.
When she’s not working with families Maureen continues to live her passions. She skis, kayaks, bikes, hikes and is always up for an adventure, especially if it includes her joyful black lab, Bubba.