For the past eight years, I have been with Jefferson County Public Schools as a health educator at Iroquois High School. Each day presents an interesting challenge; however Iroquois is a place where you receive daily appreciation for your dedication to education.
Several years ago, at the request of JCPS Practical Living Administration, the health and physical education professionals were encouraged to form their own district-wide professional learning communities (PLCs) to better align our curriculum to national standards. This also gave us a chance to share and improve our approach to our chosen field. I was fortunate to be involved in the initial phases of forming our high school health education PLC. We meet monthly and communicate often through various other media. Our group has really made a significant impact on improving the daily instruction in the health curriculum throughout JCPS.
At our monthly meetings, we share information on any outside visitors that we have had visit our classrooms. There is a special group of visitors that we all hold in the highest regards – our friends from The Healing Place.
The visits clients from The Healing Place make to various JCPS high schools have become a central part of the health curriculum at many campuses. We are deeply indebted to the many young men and women who have taken time from their schedules to offer their experience, strength, hope, and wisdom to our students.
Personally, the topic of addiction is central to my philosophy of health education. My personal experience makes this an endeavor to which I am committed. My son is an addict who was a client, peer mentor, staff member, and now contributor to a similar program in Missouri. Because of his experience, he is now a successful restaurant manager. I could not be prouder of him. My niece met a tragic early death as a college student in an incident that was related to addiction and recreational drugs. I am convinced that addiction is the central disease of our time and it shows no signs of fading anytime soon. It is imperative that we equip our students with the knowledge and ability to recognize and address these issues individually and among their peers.
When clients from The Healing Place are scheduled to come to Iroquois, word circulates quickly. That’s when some of my former students start asking if they can come back to my class to hear the speakers from The Healing Place. I cannot begin to express how much the visits mean to the kids in my classes. The days after the visits are often very emotional and lead to many significant discussions in my classroom. I have students come by daily asking for help with some issue involving addiction. They would not feel free to do this if they had not been exposed to the courage and insight of the clients from The Healing Place.
Here is a typical thank you letter that I receive:
Having the people from The Healing Place come talk to us means a lot to me because I have family members who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Having them talk to us helps me deal with not becoming like that. Listening to how drugs and alcohol changed their lives makes me want to help friends and family who have an addiction and it helps us understand why they do what they do.
I have had the opportunity to attend The Healing Place’s annual Celebrate Freedom Dinner and it has to be one of the premier events in Louisville. It is always a thrill to see clients who have shared with my classes celebrate their success. The entire city of Louisville is indebted to The Healing Place.
The Healing Place will continue to be a valuable part of the health curriculum in JCPS for years to come. I am so happy that they choose to share their experience, strength, hope, and knowledge with the students of JCPS. The entire community is respectful and grateful.
If you would like clients from The Healing Place to visit your school, business, or organization please click here to submit your request.
Posted on February 2, 2016
by Laci Comer filed under