Individual Skill Development and Enhancement
I was raised in Northeast Iowa – where I had an overall average childhood. 2 hardworking parents, an older brother by 16 months and a younger sister by 8 years. I grew up exposed to alcohol at all events making it a familiar part of most memories. I started drinking alcohol at the ripe age of 13 receiving my first underage drinking citation at 14. My parents attempted to set boundaries and discipline in ways they thought were appropriate for the time. However, although I was taking care of my responsibilities as a teenager to include attending school and working many nights and weekends, I still found time to disobey rules and prioritize partying receiving several underage drinking and possession of alcohol citations through my high school years. I went off to college where the partying continued and 2 years into my college experience tragedy struck when I was involved in a traumatic car accident as the result of drinking and driving. I was riding home from a party with a very close friend of mine when he veered off the road and was unable to correct the situation; we rolled several times, and he was ejected from the vehicle as he was not wearing his seatbelt – he died on impact. I had my seatbelt on and walked away with no physical injury. 2.5 months after the accident I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks not knowing I was even pregnant. It took me years to understand that I truly needed guidance with navigating the emotions and circumstances associated with the situation, but I continued partying recreationally as a primary means of coping. Although I struggled significantly for several years, after looking back, I can recognize the growth and resiliency I am building internally. 11 years later, tragedy struck again when another situation occurred where alcohol was involved and someone else very close to my family ended up taking their own life. That day in October 2021 was the day I chose to eliminate alcohol from my personal being, so I would never again have to be unequipped to safely and rationally respond to any situation presented to me.
For the last 15 years I have worked in the Human Services & Social Work field providing support and services to children as young as infants to adults in their 90’s. I provided safe support and services to significantly behaviorally challenged youth at Chileda in La Crosse, provided mental health services to adults with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI) through The Family & Children’s Center and currently provide social services to adults in several targeted populations including frail elders, SPMI, developmental disability, and physical disability. I remain filled with passion to demonstrate alternative coping mechanisms and offer support to our youth. I have a “meet them where they are” approach and strong ability to build rapport as well as establish a sense of safety and trust.
I enjoy reading, spending time in nature/the great outdoors, and traveling to explore new places whether it is a whole new state or a new local coffee shop!