Jason Stanton has been working with ADAC since October of 2017. Here is a little video describing some of what Jason does for us, as well as his overall experience here so far! We are thrilled to have him on our team!
5 years with ADAC. Wow. What a wild and wonderful ride! When I took this position, I was leaving a job with no plan. Zero. I was taking a leap of faith. And luckily the net was there to catch me.
The “net” was in the form of a little dynamo: Mary Rosenthal. She was calling me out of the blue, to see if I would be interested in working for a small not-for-profit that focused on teaching Life Skills – how to get along with others, how to solve conflicts, how to make good choices for ourselves in a chaotic world! How glad I am I accepted!
I was paired up with my partner-in-crime, Justin. Together we sat down and developed a motto for what we teach: “Empowered by Choice.” This adage has grounded me in both my personal and professional life and helped me through some of the most trying years. Our life is a culmination of the choices we make. What an amazing thought when we feel life has left us without any power. We have strength in the darkest of times when we own our choices and build our life.
I see this power almost every day I come to work. From the person reaching out for help and guidance, to the kindergartener proud to let me know they ate protein for breakfast! We make choices all the time and they all add up. If our positive choices can outweigh our negative ones, we have the power to positively influence our lives. And that is pretty amazing.
So proud to be a part of the ADAC team, and so grateful for a choice I made 5 years ago.
In early June 2012 was when I heard about the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Delaware County. They needed to hire a Prevention Educator, and were looking to have my mom apply for the job. She didn’t think it was a good fit for her, so she mentioned to me that I should apply. I had been working at a contracting company responsible for mitigating property damage. I liked what I was doing, but I always knew I needed to work with kids. After all, that is what I went to school for. So, I took a leap and I applied for the job. After meeting with Mary (more on her later) I knew I wanted this job. Her and I connected instantly and immediately I knew I wanted to work with this person. The passion she has for the agency was contagious and by the time I left, AFTER AN HOUR 1 on 1 interview I was hooked.
June 25th, 2012, was my first day. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew I had to be a part of whatever this was. I found out that at that time we were doing programming in 4 or 5 schools at random grade levels. In my head, I thought there must have been a better way to do it, but I was new so I kept it to myself. Later that summer ADAC hired my partner in crime Amanda. Her and I began to discuss the direction of ADAC and we both concluded that there had to be a better way to maximize our efforts with the schools. So, we took a leap and completely reinvented the way we interacted with schools. Our plan was to give schools an entire day, and let them fill in as many classes as they could with the two of us spending the day there. Our curriculum allowed us to cover grades K-12, so between the two of us we covered everything. Schools began utilizing our idea and after a while we found ourselves in 9 of the 12 schools in Delaware County. In the past 5 years, we have gone from seeing 200-300 students a week to over 1000 per week.
The reason that ADAC has been able to thrive in the past 5 years is because Amanda and I have the privilege to work with an amazing boss, Mary (told you we would talk more on her later). Mary has been here for over 21 years; as a matter of fact, October will be her 22-year jobiversary. But what has made ADAC strong is that 5 years ago, Mary allowed her two brand new employees to make some drastic changes to the way that business was done in the school systems. To many, this may not seem like a big idea. But Mary took a leap on us and allowed us to implement our plan, and she completely supported us in the process. There aren’t many places where brand new employees are given the chance to do that. I have had the opportunity to work for the best boss a person could ask for in these last 5 years.
In January of this year Mary came to me and asked me to be her Assistant Director. I had always thought eventually, maybe it would be cool to move up the ranks a little bit, but was totally not expecting that. I decided to accept the position even though I had no idea what was going to happen. I am still leaping because I am still figuring this job out. But isn’t that what life is about, taking leaps and praying you land where you are supposed to? So be encouraged, sometimes taking leaps can be scary but everything happens for a reason. I chose to believe that reason is God. He plays a huge part in my life and guides me to things that might not make sense. But I can honestly say that if my mom was never approached about a job, and she never mentioned it to me, and I never applied and met Mary, that I never would have never found this job. I never would have found my purpose in life.
So hopefully you all survived the viciousness that was "Snow-mageddon". Our office was closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Normally we would have been in South Kortright and Margaretville, but instead, we were all stuck shoveling at home. One thing we are doing to get ourselves out there is start VideoCasts, so for today's blog entry, I give you our first one featuring Amanda Martin Decker.
Happy Monday, and more importantly, happy March! I can't even believe how fast this year is going! As the calendar is racing toward Spring, our Prevention Specialists are filling up their schedules. Gabby started in Roxbury this past Friday working with K, 1, 2, and 5th grade. This coming week she will be adding 7th grade.
As a matter of fact, today Amanda and Gabby are starting in one of our favorite schools, good 'ole Franklin. This is the 5th year we are back in Franklin and words can't express how much we love this school. What is most exciting is the growth we are able to measure since we have been working here. The kindergarteners that Amanda started with are now in 4th grade with Gabby. It is exciting to see the students remember and build from one year to the next.
This cycle through Franklin we are doing our Too Good For Drugs curriculum. In the Fall cycle, we do our Too Good For Violence curriculum. Both programs are put out by our friends at the Mendez Foundation, here is a link to their website:http://www.toogoodprograms.org/ So actually we are blessed to have 16 weeks with our Franklin "peeps" as we affectionately call them. We will be working with grades K-HS once again, this time focusing on issues such as goal setting, decision making, stress management, as well as particular substances in a grade appropriate manner.
To help us, particularly in the younger grades we have animal puppets that we use.
So for those of you counting at home our schedule for this week and the next few weeks looks like this:
Monday- Gabby and Amanda in Franklin: Kindergarten thru Highschool
Tuesday- Amanda in South Kortright: Kindergarten thru 4th Grade
Wednesday- Amanda and Justin in Margaretville- Kindergarten thru Highschool
Thursday- Office day for everyone for now
Friday- Gabby in Roxbury: Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 7th
Life is busy and we love! Thank you for supporting us, check back next week, and remember: We are all EMPOWERED BY CHOICE.
Happy Valentines Day! Apologies for not updating the blog the last 2 weeks. We have had a lot going on. In last two weeks, we have added another school into our Too Good For Drugs rotation. Margaretville Central School is now where Justin and Amanda spend their Wednesdays. We are able to work with the entire school population in grades K-HS. We are very excited. So for those of you keeping score at home, our weeks are filling up with a different school each day. Tuesday is our South Kortright day, and now Wednesdays we are at MCS.
Another wonderful opportunity we had is to be on the radio station in Roxbury. Our friends at WIOX 91.3 FM invited Courtney and Justin for "Wellness Wednesday" with host John Riedl and Joyce St. George. Courtney was able to have an in-depth discussion revolving around recovery as a whole and her job as a Recovery Coach. Below is a picture of this fantastic experience.
So again, we apologize for the lack of communication in the last few weeks but we have been busy. Things are staying crazy (in a good way of course) for us here at ADAC and we look forward to serving our community in any way we can! Ultimately we want everyone to realize that they can be EMPOWERED BY CHOICE.
Thanks, nature. We love snow, we don't love it though when it interferes with our programming at our schools. However, we do know that sometimes life happens. Yesterday, January 25th, we enjoyed a snow day. We were unable to make it to South Kortright for our second week of Too Good For Drugs.
Each week while updating our blog, we are going to highlight one of the lessons that our educators will be teaching that week. This week we are highlighting the 3rd-grade curriculum. One of the beautiful aspects of Too Good For Drugs is the way the material gets presented, this week features an interactive play involving the whole class. The goal of the lesson is to reinforce the aspects of positive decision vs negative decision related to substances and how those substances affect the body.
The lesson follows a simple outline, first we define what a drug is. The definition we use for a drug is, "anything that changes how the body works". This usually leads to a discussion involving medicine and the correct way to use it versus the incorrect way to use it. From there we jump into the interactive play involving the students.
The students essentially become the different body parts. In part 1 of the play, we have a brain, a heart, 2 lungs, a liver, and a stomach that all explain their functions when the body is being taken care of: proper diet, proper rest, and good choices. In part 2 of the play, we look at what happens to the body when we don't take care of it, lack of rest, poor hygiene, lack of nutrition, and taking substances incorrectly. The students act out how each body part becomes affected.
At the end of the lesson, the students usually feel quite empowered to make good choices. The strength of this program is the ability the students have to make their own choice. We never force them into doing anything, we present them with the information allow them to make the choice. Because afterall, that is our goal. We want every student to be "Empowered By Choice."
As you may have realized by now, our agency has undergone some technological changes. We have updated/upgraded our website, we are really trying to gain a broader social media presence, and we are becoming increasingly involved in community issues. However, the one aspect of ADAC that we want to be sure is well publicized is our continued commitment to prevention, specifically in the schools. Just this week one of our Prevention Specialists, Amanda, has begun our Too Good For Drugs curriculum in South Kortright, covering grades K-4th. Too Good For Drugs is put out by the Mendez Foundation and covers: goal setting, decision making, bonding with pro-social other, identifying and managing emotions, and communicating effectively.
Over the next 8 weeks (including this week) Amanda will be working with the youngsters at South Kortright while beginning programs in other schools throughout our county with our other Prevention Specialist, Gabby. Our goal is to be in a different school district each day, working with students K-High School dealing with the issues listed above. During the 2015-16 school year, we were able to reach almost 1000 students per week between our school day and after-school programming. This year we are planning on reaching even more.
Each week we are going to be posting an update explaining what Prevention is doing and the plan moving forward. Our county is one that is inundated with complex issues involving substances and violence. Our goal is to reach as many students with the idea that each one of them is able to make a positive choice for themselves. Their friends and family may provide pressure, but ultimately it is up to them to be: "Empowered By Choice."