Town Manager Andrew Flanagan is pleased to announce that the Town of Andover has established the Division of Collaborative Support Services, which will oversee two critical functions of town government.
The new division will serve as the umbrella under which the Office of Wellness and Recovery, as well as Andover DIVERSE (Diversity, Inclusion, Values, Respect, Support and Education) will now operate. It will be managed by Sobhan "Soap" Namvar, who will report directly to Flanagan’s office.
The Office of Wellness and Recovery is a continuation of a program that launched in 2015, while Andover DIVERSE will be charged with leading diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism efforts on a community-wide scale.
"Sobhan has demonstrated that he has both the passion and commitment needed to build a program from the ground up," Town Manager Flanagan said. "Andover’s work in wellness and recovery has served as a model for other communities in the Commonwealth and I am confident that Sobhan will replicate that success as he develops a program that focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion within our community. Sobhan has a deep understanding of the realities of systemic racism and his studies in social justice and passion for facilitating meaningful change in Andover make him a natural fit to lead this effort.”
Prior to beginning his new role, Namvar has spent the past decade working in the field of mental health, addiction and community support in a variety of capacities over the past decade. He had previously served as a youth coordinator for Andover Youth Services, a role which led him to pursue and obtain his master’s of social work.
In addition to his work in Andover, Namvar has served as a social worker in Boston, Chelsea and Lexington, as well as Brooklyn, New York. He returned to Andover in 2016 as the Community Support Coordinator with the Andover Police Department, developing a companion curriculum and program, opened a community drop-in center and connected more than 650 individuals and families with resources to support mental health, addiction recovery, family services, housing and food security.
"I’ve long been dedicated to improving the lives of children, families and individuals by helping them confront and overcome a broad range of challenges," Namvar said. "I’m excited about the possibilities this role holds to do that work on an even larger scale, and I’m eager to engage with the whole community in conversations that lead to honest, inclusive and real action."
Namvar will begin in his new role overseeing the division on Monday, July 13, and details about the new division will be presented at the Select Board meeting that evening at 7 p.m. Residents are encouraged to watch the meeting live online and participate by sending their questions in advance to SelectBoard@andoverma.us.