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Motivator encourages Custer students to overcome adversity

Carrie Moore
Published: Thursday, October 27th, 2011

 

By Carrie Moore
While teenagers may often feel they have no one to talk to, that surely is not the case. Chelle Sorensen-Schefeik, a chemical dependency counselor with Lifeways at Central High School, wants that idea among high school students to change. 
In her job, Sorensen-Schefeik provides prevention, intervention and counseling services to students at Central High School.  She also gives motivational speeches across the Black Hills — something she has done for over 10 years.
Many students come to Sorensen-Schefeik with questions or issues about personal use, dependency or abuse of substances. She also gives support to students who are children of alcoholics or children of substance abusing parents. Some of her students come voluntarily, while others have been court-ordered or referred from administrators and parents.
Sorensen-Schefeik spoke to Custer High School students on Native American Day, encouraging them to overcome adversity, build their self-esteem, stop bullying and to be positive sources of support for those around them in hopes of creating environmental change. 
“It was very motivating and inspiring,” Custer High School principal Paul Anderson said. “She made it very clear to everyone that each of us has control of our own destiny and that it is a choice we all make, regardless of life’s circumstances.”
Sorensen-Schefeik became a chemical dependency counselor because she grew up surrounded by addiction. Sorensen-Schefeik has a birth defect to both her arms and to many of her internal organs.
“I wanted to help people avoid that path,” she said. “Or if they are already on that path, I want to help reduce further harm and help facilitate recovery.”
Before this job, Sorensen-Schefeik worked in Nebraska as a dual diagnosis programmer for clients with mental health and substance abuse. For the first six years, Sorensen-Schefeik mainly worked with adults before working with adolescents with addiction.
One of Sorensen-Schefeik’s biggest talking points is with bullying and overcoming adversity. Since the topic is heavily portrayed in the media, Sorensen-Schefeik finds it an important issue to address.
“I think that to stop bullying we need people, schools and communities to be honest with themselves that it is happening,” she said.
Sorensen-Schefeik also believes that consequences need to be clearly communicated and consistently enforced.
Sorensen-Schefeik stressed the ideas of creating a positive place and getting parents to talk to kids as ways to overcome bullying. However, the most important part of getting to the root of a problem is keeping an open line of communication.
“It’s imperative that teens and adults connect with one another because teens, in my opinion, are a very valuable underused resource,” Sorensen-Schefeik said. “Not only are they big on thinking outside the box, they can give feedback and support on issues.”

While teenagers may often feel they have no one to talk to, that surely is not the case. Chelle Sorensen-Schefeik, a chemical dependency counselor with Lifeways at Central High School, wants that idea among high school students to change. 

In her job, Sorensen-Schefeik provides prevention, intervention and counseling services to students at Central High School.  She also gives motivational speeches across the Black Hills — something she has done for over 10 years.

Many students come to Sorensen-Schefeik with questions or issues about personal use, dependency or abuse of substances. She also gives support to students who are children of alcoholics or children of substance abusing parents. Some of her students come voluntarily, while others have been court-ordered or referred from administrators and parents.

Sorensen-Schefeik spoke to Custer High School students on Native American Day, encouraging them to overcome adversity, build their self-esteem, stop bullying and to be positive sources of support for those around them in hopes of creating environmental change. 

“It was very motivating and inspiring,” Custer High School principal Paul Anderson said. “She made it very clear to everyone that each of us has control of our own destiny and that it is a choice we all make, regardless of life’s circumstances.”

Sorensen-Schefeik became a chemical dependency counselor because she grew up surrounded by addiction. Sorensen-Schefeik has a birth defect to both her arms and to many of her internal organs.

“I wanted to help people avoid that path,” she said. “Or if they are already on that path, I want to help reduce further harm and help facilitate recovery.”

Before this job, Sorensen-Schefeik worked in Nebraska as a dual diagnosis programmer for clients with mental health and substance abuse. For the first six years, Sorensen-Schefeik mainly worked with adults before working with adolescents with addiction.

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