Training Students To Help Students

Pictured during the final session of Recovery Coach Academy are (front row left to right) Nancy Carr, Jerry Farnett, Tim Restani and Patricia Reyna. In the back row (left to right) are Sarah Hartman, Zoe Heyward, Doug Rogers, Elizabeth Carroll-Marsh, Sage Sgroi, Zach Cook, and Jack Nolan.

There’s a new type of service within the counseling industry known as recovery coach. The job of a recovery coach is to help clients make smart choices and stay away from their addictions. Thanks to a recently completed Recovery Coach Academy, OCC has its first ever certified recovery coaches. “Our students participated in many extra hours of education to achieve this certification and we are very proud of them,” said Nancy Carr, Director of the college’s Office of Accessibility Resources.

The Academy was taught by Patricia Reyna of Professional Recovery Services. She led students through a series of scenarios recovery coaches might face and discussed possible responses with them. “It was outstanding of OCC to provide this training. I think having students involved puts OCC way ahead of the curve on this.”

Patricia Reyna guided students through the Recovery Coach Academy.

What makes OCC’s program unique is that seven students in the Alcohol & Substance Abuse counseling major earned their recovery coach certification, putting them in position to serve fellow students struggling with addiction. “We have created a level playing field,” said Jerry Farnett, OCC’s Adult & Evening Services Coordinator who also completed the training. “If a student comes to see me there’s already a power differential. If a student is talking to a student, it’s a level playing field.” “When we are dealing with addiction, having someone to talk to who has actually been there and knows what they are going through is very important,” added Sarah Hartman, OCC’s AOD Prevention Coordinator.

Elizabeth Carroll-Marsh is one of the seven students who completed the training to become a recovery coach. “I think this was extremely valuable. It has given me another avenue in which to go into the field of addiction treatment with while providing support for the OCC community.”

The Recovery Coach Academy was funded by a grant from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

If you’ve been impacted by addiction you are encouraged to discuss your struggles during “Spring into Recovery” sessions. They are held in Mawhinney Hall room 205 every Tuesday in April from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and every Friday in April from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

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