Career Story: Drug Prevention Program Teacher

Drug Prevention Program Teacher

Job Title: Prevention Specialist

Type of Company: Non-profit mental health organization

Education: BA, Psychology, St. Joseph College (Hartford, CT) •• taking course towards a MA, Community Counseling for LPC

Previous Experience: Previously I worked as a director of a childcare center for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old and now I am a drug prevention counselor for pre-K, elementary and middle school children.

Job Tasks: I do drug prevention programs for pre-K and elementary and middle school children. I contact the site and plan the session dates. The groups meet once a week for 8 to 10 weeks: 8 weeks for the pre-K age group and 10 weeks for the elementary and middle school age groups. Overall, the concept is to teach children social skills and encourage them to make good choices. The pre-K group meets once a week for a half hour and the sessions focus on building self-esteem and acquiring better social skills: learning to share, making good choices, nutrition, comfortable and uncomfortable touches, and drugs and alcohol. The older children are taught the same material but other lessons are included that focus on bullying and coping with stressful situations. Some groups of the older children are from families with addictions and so we teach these groups the skills they'll need to deal with difficult situations and coping strategies when there is a family member dealing or recovering from an addiction.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the joy that I bring to the children that I interact with. Working in prevention with children gives them a glimmer of hope. It is important for children to have an adult to look up to.

The majority of children that I work with are from high risk communities and in my opinion a large percent seem to have a warped opinion of how to live a healthy lifestyle. Being able to have an impact somehow, to show children they have other options, and that they can do anything that they put their mind to is very fulfilling.

The worst part of my job is ending the group, but knowing that the impact could have made a large difference for that one child is worth it.

Job Tips: Knowing that you can make a positive difference in a child's life is amazing. This is a great entry-level job because you learn about many different cultures and ways of living. Anyone in the human services field who is interested in working with children would enjoy this job.

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