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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fargo Woman: Women in Business

Connie Stevens, M.Ed., LAC

Born: Valley City, ND, 1949

Education: Valley City State University—B.S. Education, NDSU—Masters in Education, guidance and counseling emphasis

Business: Clinical Director – ShareHouse/Sister’s Path/Robinson Recovery Center, Fargo

Community and Professional Volunteering: Valley City nursing home, professional organizations

On leadership, “A good leader leads by example and sets a direction that you want to follow. They have integrity, assertiveness, and diplomacy and can delegate.”

“I believe in people when they don’t believe in themselves.”
- Connie Stevens

Believing in someone’s actions and potential can be difficult even in the best of circumstances. Our community is fortunate to have a professional such as Connie Stevens overseeing programming which works with people in the throws of addiction that may well have shattered their lives. At their lowest point, people need to know that someone still has faith in them and their future.

Connie is the clinical director for ShareHouse/Sister’s Path/Robinson Recovery Center. “I feel very privileged to do what I’m doing – it’s been rewarding,” Connie said, “It’s rewarding to watch people re-claim their lives.”

Beginning in 1975, ShareHouse has provided a continuum of chemical dependency treatment, prevention and educational services to those affected by the disease of addiction, their families and communities. Sister’s Path provides housing for homeless and addictive people along with supportive services and the Robinson program provides counseling and recovery services for people addicted to Methamphetamines.

As the clinical director for these programs she oversees all clinical teams and services which provide treatment to people suffering and recovering from addition.

A typical day for Connie starts with checking messages and emails and making sure that the staff is in place handling clients’’ care. She does “flash staffing” by meeting with her staff to hear how the night before went with clients who live on-site. Weekly, Connie holds supervisory meetings and is always working on program planning.

Another part of Connie’s job is to network in the community and speak to area organizations and service groups. She attends workshops, reads professional magazines, newsletters, attends national conferences and takes part in continuing education. Through her educational and networking efforts, Connie said sees first hand what is going on in the country as far as addiction treatment and feels that North Dakota is a head of the rest of the country because of the high caliber treatment it offers.

Connie attended Valley City State University (VCSU) then transferred to NDSU. She returned to VCSU and received her B.S. in Education. After graduation, she taught phy ed and coached at Fargo South High School for three years. Then she moved to Minot where she taught for several years and then started her family.

In 1990, Connie and her family moved to Fargo. After 10 years of being home with her three children and now as a single parent, Connie returned to school and received her Master’s in Guidance and Counseling. She said it was a challenge to be in school, have three children to raise and balance the family finances to get all of this accomplished.

As time went on, she did her college internship with the St. John’s Genesis program in child chemical dependency. She was offered her first job there and remained at Genesis for four years. Later, Connie went to Lutheran Social Services of ND and worked for two years at Luther Hall group home as an addiction and family counselor.

As inpatient facilities began closing and more outpatient programs started she joined Drake Counseling Center in Fargo counseling families whose kids were addressing and recovering from addiction. The area of family and child counseling is a passion of Connie’s and she served in the role for five years. She moved on to the clinical director position at Drake, which she held for four years before moving to ShareHouse.

Summarizing her reasons to move to ShareHouse Connie said that it was time for a professional change and to form a new professional vision for herself. She has now been at ShareHouse for two years and loves what she does. She said that she enjoys working for a larger and non profit organization.

At ShareHouse through treatment, they deal with the whole person including the spiritual side of the individual. Connie said that spiritual awareness can play a large role in a person’s recovery from addictions. And, this former teacher is still teaching as she mentions that education is a part of an individual’s treatment program.

Connie shared that it is a privilege to be a part of people’s journey through and recovery from addiction. As a professional working in this field, she said many times there is not immediate gratification when working with a patient but, that years later, perhaps, a parent will stop her on the street and thank her for how she helped their child – that their child recovered and is now a healthy, contributing adult.

Connie sees Meth use rising and points out that their organization is the first treatment facility to offer Meth recovery programs in the state. In the past, Connie said that treatments for all addictions tended to be more “cookie cutter” but now individualized treatment plans are becoming the norm. ShareHouse also does programming that is gender specific – women working with women and men working with men to address personal issues.

After a person has suffered through years of addiction, received help and has emerged whole by re-claiming their life through counseling and treatment, great comfort can be taken from Connie’s favorite saying,” It’s not the years in your life; it’s the life in your years.”
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1 comment:

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