Addiction Certification: Not Just for Rehab Majors

One of the best things about college is that you get to choose classes and topics that interest you, even if they are not part of your declared major! Did you know that UMF offers specialized certification programs that allow students to take a set of classes designed to target a specific field, interest, or topic? The certification programs are not majors, and they are not minors- they are simply a set of courses put together and designed to prepare students going into various fields by giving them knowledge and skills outside of the courses that align with their major. UMF offers Addiction Rehabilitation, Alpine Operations, and English Language Learners (ELL) certifications.

These certification programs are offered to all majors, even with no prior background. Brittany Jerome is a junior at UMF majoring in Early Childhood Special Education while also enrolled in the Addiction Rehabilitation certification program. She has been able to make strong connections between the two fields, as many of her peers have as well. “I never took a rehab class before enrolling in this certification, and I did not feel as though I was behind my classmates,” said Brittany. “These classes include students from a wide range of majors, as many of the classes contain content that is applicable to a variety of majors. The professors understand that not everyone in these classes have the same prior knowledge, so they are really good about including information that non-rehab majors might not know. I have taken classes with students majoring in rehab, education, health, psychology, ORBA, and many more!” 

When asked why she has interest in the addiction field, Brittany touched upon the rapid growth of addiction across the nation. “Addiction is spreading, very quickly. Today, almost everyone you meet has been affected by addiction in some way. While working with young children and their families I will come across families where parents, siblings, and other family members may be struggling with addiction, and it affects the whole family. The applied knowledge of addiction and how it can affect families will give me a better understanding and insight into what the family as a whole struggles with, so that I can better help the family meet their needs.”

This program includes classes about substance abuse prevention and addiction, families in rehabilitation, counseling and the helping relationship, child and family psychology, and more! Some of them are health classes, rehabilitation classes, and psychology classes. For a complete list of the courses included in the Addiction Rehabilitation certification, click here

The classes that are included in this certification have been selected and designed to give students the knowledge and competencies needed in order to take the exam to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in the state of Maine. More information about the CADC requirements is available here.

This certification program can expose students to various career paths that they had not thought of before that allow them to apply the knowledge they learn in these classes with that of the classes in their major. This was Brittany’s experience, as she was not exactly sure what she wanted to do until recently. “I always knew I wanted to work with babies and young children born with various physical, cognitive, and functional impairments- but I did not want to be a teacher,” Brittany said. “I personally have an interest in working with infants and children born with various mental health needs as well as with parents struggling with their own mental health. I can help parents understand their child’s needs and how to cope with their own struggles as they transition into parenthood. As addiction is a growing epidemic, I will most likely be working with families that struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders, and even babies born with addiction. This certification program allows me to apply my early childhood special education knowledge with my addiction counseling knowledge in order to make me a more appealing and qualified candidate.”

Are you interested in the topic of addiction counseling, but do not think it will apply to your career goals? Think again! The courses in this certification program are applicable to anyone who wants to work with the public, especially in the human services field. Even if you do not have interest in being an addiction counselor, you still learn a lot about addiction in general, families, co-occurring disorders, the helping relationship- so much more. “Since addiction is such a growing issue, it is almost inevitable that you will end up working with someone who has been affected by addiction,” said Brittany. “Addiction does not discriminate, so I think anyone can find a way to apply it to their current field of interest.”

The certification programs offered at UMF are designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and competencies of pre-professionals in various areas and disciplines before entering the field. The additional education that students in these programs receive make them a more qualified and appealing candidate, and may be the deciding factor for employers when comparing UMF graduates with other applicants. For more information about the various certification programs offered at UMF, visit the Certificates website.

 

Partner Spotlight: Thomas Desjardins and the 21st Century Kids of Franklin County

The University of Maine at Farmington values the partnerships held with various community members and organizations. These partnerships allow UMF students to get involved in the community while building on their field experience and engaging in a hands-on learning environment.

The Franklin County Children’s Task Force provides extensive employment, practicum, volunteer, and internship opportunities for students, including their 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N After School Program. Thomas Desjardins, Program Coordinator, was able to give an insight into the program, the opportunities it provides for UMF students, and the value of this partnership.

“The Franklin County Children’s Task Force generally assists families in need in Franklin county,” Mr. Desjardins explains. “Specifically, my program is the 21st Century After School Program and the mission of this program is to provide quality after school programming with intensive academic supports at no cost to the students in both Farmington and Wilton and the Mt. Blue school district. We provide a safe space for parents to leave their kids when they are at work. We know how much child care costs, but we want to do more. It is more than just a safe space. We want to promote positive interactions and academic achievement in these children. It is all about caring about the people in the community.”

Out of the 31 staff members, 28 of them are UMF students. Kathy Kemp, a UMF Rehabilitation Services professor, is also on the Task Force Board of Directors. Partnering with the University has given the Task Force and the 21st Century Program numerous cooperative and valuable contacts within the community.

UMF students that are employed through the 21st Century Program have the opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to this program, as they are involved in lesson planning and implementing those lessons at Mallet or Academy Hill Elementary School. UMF students serve in the role of enrichment facilitator, academic tutor, homework helper, and as the site coordinator. They plan various STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities, provide academic supports, kinesthetic activities, visual and performing arts, and health prevention education.”

As a previous school principal, Mr. Desjardins enjoys coaching and supporting new teachers and helping others build on their own skills. “[UMF students] learn how to interact, manage, teach, plan- all aspects of being a school teacher. It’s not babysitting, it’s more like being paid for student teaching or practicum. They participate in monthly staff meetings and professional development, they bring in professionals from various fields, and engage in professional discussions around teaching and learning.” Mr. Desjardins values the “organic connection” that students have with him and his program. “Students look for opportunities to further their craft outside of the classroom. It’s a win win situation, they get the experience and I get to coach them. And they get a paycheck!” Mr. Desjardins said with a chuckle.

When looking for prospective candidates, positive energy and good character are the most important qualities for a potential employee to have. “My realization is that in your early 20’s as a student you have a lot of capacity to be built, but you do not have a lot of tools in the tool box,” says Mr. Desjardins. “It is incumbent upon me to expand your tool box. I run this program as if I am a principal and these employees are my teachers.”

Thomas Desjardins and the 21st Century After School Program are valuable assets to the community and the University. Mr. Desjardins cares a lot about the community, families, and his employees. His experience as a school principal gives him the skills and knowledge to work with future educators and help them build on their own skills to reach their full potential. He is a tremendous leader, educator, coordinator, and partner. The University of Maine at Farmington and the Franklin county are lucky to have him as a partner and a supporter.

The Franklin County Children’s Task Force and the 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N Program are always recruiting UMF students for practicum, student teaching, volunteer, and employment opportunities. For more information about this program and how to get involved, please contact Thomas Desjardins at tdesjardins@fcctf.org or (207) 778-6960, or visit the Franklin County Children’s Task Force website.

On behalf of the UMF community, we would like to thank Mr. Desjardins and his program for all that they do for University students and the community. “Franklin County Children’s Task Force, strengthening families for over 30 years.”

 

EdCamp Western Maine

EdCamp Western Maine is scheduled for February 4, 2017 at Mt. Blue High School!!! EdCamps are teacher-led professional development experiences in which teachers share their expertise (in this case, about technology) and learn together about new trends and innovations in education. Come meet like-minded educators, network, share and learn!
Sign up early to make sure you’ve reserved a spot!

For more information, or to sign up, visit the EdCampWMe website today!edcamp