Six Months of Action, by Seth Johnson
My experience with AmeriCorps has been truly enriching and fulfilling. The insight into public health and the opioid crisis, as well as in-depth training in Positive Youth Development (PYD) and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), will surely benefit my career moving forward.
Since November, I’ve been able to deliver Rise Above Colorado’s Not Prescribed lesson to nearly 400 students at four middle schools in Boulder and Broomfield Counties. I also presented the lesson at the Denver Metro Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the University of Colorado Denver campus and a Wellness Week schoolwide assembly at the Challenge School in Aurora. I’ve given naloxone trainings at Creative Treatment Options behavioral healthcare center in Arvada, Foothills Integrated Health in Littleton, and Evergreen Fire and Rescue Admin office. At Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), I’ve been on the planning team for an upcoming provider education event which will focus on integrating addictions care between primary and behavior health providers.
Regarding other community engagement, I’ve been able to join 11 ongoing community groups addressing substance use in various capacities. These include Broomfield Communities That Care (CTC), Healthy Futures Coalition and the Opioid Advisory Group in Boulder, and Points West Advisory Council, JCPH Overdose Prevention Committee, Power of Partnership, Mountain Area Health and Human Services Coalition, Preventative Care and Behavioral Health Coalition, JCPH Provider Education Workgroup, and CTC in Jefferson County. Within these, I am part of various workgroups on topics such as youth engagement, evidence based practices, early intervention, and community outreach. I have spoken at Denver high schools about what AmeriCorps is and my experience thus far. Finally, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Action Center in Lakewood and YHC Clinics alongside other Community Opioid Response Program AmeriCorps Members.
Coming up next month, I have naloxone trainings planned at Creative Treatment Options, Denver College of Nursing, Family Integrated Treatment (FIT) Court in JeffCo, Lakewood Municipal Court, Arvada Library, Lakewood Library, and Blue Spruce Kiwanis in Evergreen. I’ll be emceeing the integrated care provider education event on March 14th in Golden. I’ll also be speaking about AmeriCorps at another school in Denver and continuing my involvement with community coalitions.
It has been consistently humbling to interact with so many people dedicated to bettering their communities and the lives of others. I know that the connections I am making will last beyond my term of service. Getting to work with such a great team of AmeriCorps members/leadership, the wonderful people at CCAHEC, and my host site JCPH is such a joy, and I look forward to what the 2nd half of my term will bring.