What have you done that you are proud of?
A number of the clients I serve have experienced numerous challenges early in their lives: community violence, gang involvement, poverty, discrimination, incarceration, failing grades, limited support, early substance abuse, and other challenges. When clients start making positive changes such as decreasing/stopping substance use, identifying what they like about themselves, improving school grades and attendance, planning for the future, asking for help, and/or improving positive coping skills, it makes me feel proud. Graduate school is also a time that I am proud of. I worked very hard and was fortunate to have chosen LMU because the quality of the education provided gave me a solid foundation to support my daily work. The professors were knowledgeable, supportive, passionate and engaging.
How has your work made an impact on your community, school, agency, classroom, clients or students?
I work for a community agency that provides short and long-term counseling to young people who either use or are at-risk of using substances. My work directly impacts the community because I provide individual and group counseling at several local high schools, offer family counseling to increase positive communication at home, partner with school staff to provide information on substance use issues and offer referrals, collaborate with other non-profits in the community, give presentations at a local college regarding substance use issues, work with the probation department to support youth in stopping their substance use and getting off probation, screen youth using substances to help them determine the appropriate level of care needed, provide referrals for inpatient treatment and offer information from local community agencies as needed. I help my clients to realize their own strength and value, and support them in being better able to see a future that has meaning for them.
What evidence can you share that demonstrates this impact?
We collect data and closely follow client treatment plans which provide us with data as to progress made in our program. Most of my clients make measurable progress while in treatment, some very significant. Sometimes I can observe progress from session to session in the form of a client stopping or dramatically decreasing their substance use or other risky behaviors, graduating from high school, applying for college, getting off probation after being in the system for years, getting their first job, improving their grades and attendance at school, improving positive communication skills, finally agreeing to see a psychiatrist for a severe mental health condition, or simply starting to like themselves and feeling happier.