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Sunday, November 14, 2004

I spent 4 years and some change in the community mental health field providing one level of support or another, from a lowly grunt in direct care to a supervisor in direct care to community support case management. Not by choice or design, but all of my work happened to be exclusively with teenagers, and the majority of my caseloads were females. This didn't have anything to do with demographics as much as the agencies that were hiring at the time.

If I do say so myself, I enjoyed some pretty modest success if you don't include the burnout factor. Hey, making it four years without so much as a hint of an accusation of inappropriate Catholic-clergy-like conduct is quite the accomplishment in the social work world. I remember being told that statistically, I lasted longer than most males in their mid-to-late twenties in the field.

I reminisce about all this because the other night, E and I watched the movie Mean Girls, written by Tina Fey based on the book Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. Wiseman, as I discovered by viewing the Mean Girls DVD extras, co-founded the Empower Program, a non-profit organization that empowers youth to stop the culture of violence. It reminded me of the sorts of things I used to do as I was working with youth, usually after one form of violence or another. It reminded me of flirting with ideas of doing or joining something geared toward prevention.

They might be rusty, but I like to think I still have most of the old skill sets that helped me be successful - communication, empathy, etc. To say nothing of all the new skills I've developed since then, like how to break my foot off in someone's @$$.

But, how to get there... back in touch with old ideas and dreams that inspire you almost as much as some new ideas that you have in your head. Knowing the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step isn't much help until you have a clearer idea of your destination. It's one thing to say, "Yeah, I'm headed toward Bora Bora." Sure, you can determine your direction easily enough. But, the devil's in the details, isn't it?

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