Social Worker Advocate
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), I have worked with HIV+ people who are working on their addiction/recovery issues, trying to get sober. In my work history, I worked as a Health Educator/Risk Reduction staff for sex workers in the Harris County Sheriff’s Dept. County Jail, where the women were educated about Empowerment, Self-Esteem & Safer Sex with their clients. I have also worked in the Addiction Treatment arena with women who are receiving addiction treatment in an outpatient facility for women only. I have been honored in working with some of the best people in the Addiction Treatment field.
During my work experience I naturally gravitated towards advocacy, it appears to be in my blood. Early on my career, I also volunteered for the local HIV/AIDS testing community clinic, I earned my HIV Counseling experience working during the early years, 1990′s, of the HIV epidemic while the world was still learning about the disease. Those were the days when Safer Sex were respected words.
Currently I am employed as a Clinician for psychiatric assessment team that conducts assessments on acute psychotic patients for determination of treatment needs. I am also employed as a Social Worker/Therapist for Psychiatric Hospital PHP program. There is a lot of crisis management, therapy sessions and paperwork. For four years, I provided Addiction Treatment to persons that are HIV+ and have thoroughly enjoyed the work, while in this position, I was able to enter into Graduate School at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and remarkably finished my Masters in less than 3 years. I was one of the older students as I completed my under grad studies in 2004 from the University of Houston Downtown, well into my 40′s. Prior to my undergrad degree, I was already in possession of my Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor license from the Texas Dept. of State Health Services, which has allowed me to work with recovering addicts since 2000.
Of course I didn’t just wake up and say “hey why not a Social Worker?” After several years in recovery myself, I thought it would be a good idea and it has been. My choice has served me well; I have found a career that has suited me and am actually pretty satisfied with the work I do. I am glad to be able provide the ultimate in service work, giving back something that I have gained as a result of my continued abstinence from alcohol or other drugs. I give all that I have credit to my HP.
Over the past few years I have been a member of the National Association of Social Workers, NAADAC, and the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals. I have been awarded Counselor of the Year (2009), Board Member of the Year (2010) and Volunteer of the Year for the SPECTRUM Conference several times from the Houston Chapter of TAAP and I was the Conference Chair for the Houston Chapter of TAAP Annual SPECTRUM Conference in 2010. In the past I have served on committees, boards of HIV related organizations and am proud of the education I have learned while serving on them.
As a public speaker, I present to local, state-wide and nationally to colleagues in the addiction community, mainly on HIV and Substance Abuse issues and I have extensive experience in presenting on sexually transmitted infections (STIs). I was honored by my co-workers to be awarded Employee of the Quarter and Employee of the Year in 2009.
The Houston Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals honored me with numerous awards. I have been given the Jim Keesy Volunteer of the Conference Award for the Spectrum Conference in 2007, 2009 and 2012. I have also been honored as Counselor of the Year by the chapter in 2009 and the Board Member of the Year in 2010. I am honored to be among my colleagues with these awards.
I am also a Certified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), certified by NAADAC . A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) evaluates workers who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing and aftercare. This is conducted through referrals made.
Lived in the City of Houston all of my life.
I have enjoy traveling, my favorite places are in the Caribbean Islands and Mexico, where I have enjoyed snorkeling and sunning.
I have tried my hand at quilting, jewelry making and love playing Scrabble©.
These are some pictures from my garden as I love to keep the backyard looking great!.