NAFI CT Counselor Mia Gaudet Wins ‘Whatever It Takes’ Award

June 18, 2021
NAFI CT's Melissa 'Mia' Gaudet wins a Whatever It Takes Award.
Melissa ‘Mia’ Gaudet

NAFI Connecticut Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Melissa “Mia” Gaudet has been honored by MST Services with the Whatever it Takes Award for the first quarter of 2021.

MST Services developed the Multisystemic Therapy® approach to transforming the lives of troubled youth and their families, and partners with provider organizations like NAFI to use MST to treat at-risk youth, while also training providers to ensure clinical quality and consistency, as well as offering support services.

Mia is the lead therapist for a NAFI CT MST-EA team (MST for Emerging Adults) that works with 17- to 21-year-olds in the Greater Hartford area who have a history of significant mental illness, of substance abuse, or of interactions with the criminal justice system.

She and her fellow team members, led by supervisor Mindy Baller, provide clinical treatment tailored to the individual circumstances of each youth as they help them to successfully transition to adulthood.

“Mia received multiple nominations, which speaks to her positive impact on the team, on NAFI as an organization, and on her clients,” MST Services wrote in announcing the award. “Mia exemplifies the Whatever it Takes attitude in her work on a daily basis.”

Also See:
NAFI Middletown Team Wins MST Sustained Excellence Award

The nominations for Mia, as MST Services noted, say it all:

Mia truly does WIT for her clients. She put up a Facebook post looking for donations for one of her clients and her baby, who were moving into her client’s very first apartment. She got all kinds of [donations] and purchased items for her client and worked with a faith-based organization who offered whatever she wanted in their 2 storage units. She made multiple trips back and forth while supporting her client in her move. When the crib for her client’s baby was missing a part and DCF required the baby have an appropriate bed/crib, Mia went out to purchase a pack-and-play for the baby to sleep in and then ordered a new crib for the baby. All after a very full and long day of moving. Mia checks in with clients on the occasional weekend, even when she isn’t on call, when a client needs that extra support or just to let them know she cares. Mia often will offer a weekend session, when sessions weren’t all held during the week.

Mia is a rock star! Over the last year she has worked on so many projects outside of her daily work with clients, all while maintaining a full caseload. She has helped with trainings, tips and tricks sheets, projects centered around building connections among people and teams. She … does whatever it takes to not only help her clients but also her co-workers in any way she can!

Mia never gives up, and if barriers present themselves, she works to remove them or find an answer, until she is successful. Mia also doesn’t ever expect anyone on her team or otherwise to help her. She takes full responsibility for doing whatever is needed to best meet her clients’ needs. Mia also takes time to help her peers on her team and others to do role plays for practicing skills and ensuring they have a recorded “session” to turn in each week. Clients are very lucky to get to work with Mia in treatment and we are sooo lucky to have her on our team!

“It’s a new award and it was a surprise,” Mia said, adding that while the affirmation is great, it also reflects what she experiences in her work environment. “NAFI is really amazing. I get positive feedback all the time.”

As for her work with clients, which some might find stressful, Mia said, “What I do is highly rewarding and so much fun.”

NAFI CT has two MST-EA contracts with the State of Connecticut, one involving clients referred through the state Judicial Branch’s Court Support Services Division and the one for Mia’s team, which receives referrals from the state Department of Children and Families.

Each team has four therapists and a supervisor, and one therapist is always bilingual.

Mia can work with up to four clients at a time. Youths can stay in the program for six months to a year, she explained, and the typical period from intake to discharge is eight months.

“The intervention should create a positive trickle-down effect to all areas of their lives,” Mia explained. “The other important component is to try to increase natural support.”

See Our Current MST-EA Career Opportunities


NAFI CT is a multi-service agency that provides programming, consultation, and individualized support services to youth, families, and adults in a variety of settings across Connecticut. Our core services include foster care, developmental services, residential treatment, and in-home services and consultations. We take a respectful and dignified approach to all care services, with the mission of empowering individuals and strengthening families. To learn more, call NAFI CT at 860.284.1177 or see the website at