My Social Work career began just a few months later when I landed a job with Father Flanagan’s Boys Town working in a group home with troubled teens.
I spent a year going to work there when I realized I was ready to move in a home and ended up living in a foster home for 5 years. I had about 25 different teens come and go during that time, some who still contact me today and have their own families now
I have also run a day program for severely developmentally disabled adults, managing and providing on going training for 60 adults with disabilities, and training my staff of about 20 on working with this population.
Social work career start
I spent some years working as an outpatient therapist for a large company called Devereux Treatment Network, where I saw troubled teens and worked with their families on treatment programs.
I was promoted and asked to create and run a mentoring program with a clinical flavor, which ended up being called the Therapeutic Friend program, and when I was done there I had 15-20 mentors hired and trained, and we were serving about 100 kids in the county.
In Brevard county Florida, I was hired by Ramsey youth services to start an alternative school for the most difficult expelled students in the county, ones who had not only been expelled from public school, but kicked out if the next level treatment center for expelled kids.
In about 1 year, I created, implemented, and maintained a student promotional program that resulted in about a 90% overall elimination of any negative type behaviors.
From 18 kids at the start, the school board saw the success and began to send all of the others to me, ending up with 88 kids in all, with about 75% achieving promotion on our program, and about 50% if the students were able to return to their zoned school after a year, as they had acquired the social skills needed to succeed in public setting.
I was nominated my first year for Brevard County School Administrator of the year in 2003, and the director and board members nicknamed my school “Stonehenge” as they could not figure out how the same kids who were throwing desks and hitting teachers were now giving tours and calling them sir, and ma’am!
I have been hired as a consultant and team builder for both staff and patients at hospitals, such as University Behavioral Center in Orlando Florida. I implemented a staff team building project to assist the doctors, nurses and support staff to communicate more effectively. I was also tasked with improving client behavior on the psychiatric unit, and created a program for them still in place today, years later.
Although I have been in management/training positions the last decade or so, I also taught school in a program for expelled kids, where I was promoted in a year to Dean of students. This led me to yet another task of implementing programs for all students, and deciding appropriate consequences for students, and staff that I supervised.
Both Sides Of The Job…
I have a mixture of clinical and non clinical experience. I have worked side by side with psychiatrists helping to rule out or make a diagnoses on a client.
In other roles on the administrative end of a school board system, and written many IEP ( Individual Education programs) for the population that needed it, and got to work on the non clinical side by focusing strictly on training staff of up to 60 at a time on issues such as physical restraint, verbal de-escalation and appropriate professional boundaries in the workplace.
More importantly I have worked on the front lines with all the populations I trained others on, which gave me my real experience.
Recognized by the Orlando Magic Foundation for work with youth, including a private meet and greet with Shaq for me and some of my foster kids..
Awarded Family Teacher of the year while at Father Flanagan’s working as a live in Foster Parent.
Selected to be featured in Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV story on the role of a foster parent.
Wrote and directed youth of Miami video for Lutheran Brotherhood youth group, shown nationally to all Lutheran Brotherhood volunteers.
Nominated for Brevard County School Administrator of the year for my work on the expelled youth project, won 2nd place.
Have been keynote speaker for many youth based and adult based training programs, including Orange County School employees, Respect Teen Volunteer group.
Leader of Train the Trainers in Orlando for people who are preparing to train school staff on working with families’ and children in at risk situations.
Hired for consulting for both staff team building and creating different programs for teens in trouble to apply their talents to many projects. Hospitals, schools, non-profits, etc..
Named teacher of the year and employee of the year in my rookie year in teaching expelled students.
Increased daily attendance at County senior center in Florida by 100% and was featured in numerous senior publications and articles about getting seniors active and out in the community.
Have written and had many published articles on topics involving social work or mental health for all ages.
Have volunteered and counseled families in need on numerous occasions, worked in runaway shelters and fielded hundreds of crisis calls where immediate intervention was needed.
Was recognized for stopping an attempted suicide in the boys home while at Father Flanagan’s.
Have been speaker at numerous senior groups, youth conventions inner city initiatives to form school- to- work programs for those who were not planning on college.
While in college, trained and completed acting courses with James Best, of the Dukes of Hazard as my coach. Featured in several movies, commercials and print work as well as walk on extra work for a television series filmed at Universal Orlando. Later used those experiences to write several scripts and videos promoting the need for rehabilitation for people with addictions, serious mental health issues left untreated, etc.
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