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Our Voices: Randy Anderson, Addict in Recovery

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Randy-anderson-storyTo Recovery and Beyond

The day Randy Anderson was sentenced to more than 87 months in federal prison was the worst day of his life.

At one point in his life, Randy was using and dealing cocaine daily. That lifestyle caught up with him one day in 2004 when he came home to find himself surrounded by police vehicles and officers with guns drawn.

To avoid any lengthy jail time, Randy volunteered to enter a drug treatment program. After completing the program at the Minneapolis drug treatment facility RS Eden, he was arrested on drug charges again. It was Randy’s second stay at the RS Eden that sent the message that would change his life.

“One of the counselors told me I was being stubborn,” he said. ”That was my turning point.”
His counselor challenged Randy to enter sobriety and, not one to turn down a challenge, he obliged. He’s been sober since Jan. 10, 2005. However, despite his recent sobriety, Randy still needed to account for his past actions. He was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison.

The day Randy drove himself to prison was the scariest day of his life.

“My heart fell out of my chest,” he said. “I was devastated by an outcome that was so much worse than I ever could have imagined.”

Randy was able to reduce his sentence to 54 months with good behavior. After his release and once he acquired a steady job, his newlywed wife encouraged him to look at postsecondary education.

“I decided to go for it, but at the age of 43, I was scared to death of going back to school,” he said.

His first day of class at MCTC was the second scariest day of his life. He remembers turning around in his car to go back home twice, and telling himself he couldn’t do it.

When he finally arrived at the College, he found the atmosphere inviting. Within moments of his arrival, Randy was approached by a fellow student who offered him directions. Randy realized involvement would be his key to success as an adult student coming back to college, and shortly thereafter he connected with Student Life and the Addiction Counseling Club.

“If you don’t become involved with Student Life, you’re missing out,” he said. “It made my educational experience as a middle-aged man really fun.”

Diving into MCTC’s renowned Addiction Counseling program, Randy found his niche. Drawing on a lifetime of connecting and building rapport with new acquaintances, Randy used his involvement and connections jump start his education and work toward a future career as an addiction counselor.

“In any client-focused career, you have to find a way to connect with someone on a personal level,” said Randy. “As an outgoing person and someone with experience going through addiction counseling, my goal is to connect with the people who went through what I went through.”

Before he graduates from his program in December, Randy will spend the summer interning at RS Eden—the very place that turned his life around. He already knows he’s on the right track, too. “I was offered to stay on as a counselor after my internship,” he said. “I’m starting my future right out of the gates.

5th Annual “Operation Recovery” Addresses the Stigma of Drug and Alcohol Recovery

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments
Operation Recovery logo

What’s in YOUR medicine cabinet?

In recognition of National Recovery Month, the MCTC Addiction Counseling program and student club are hosting the fifth annual Operation Recovery Sept. 18, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on the MCTC outdoor plaza.

Event organizers invite everyone from the community to attend the event in an effort to overcome stigma affiliated with drug and alcohol recovery. Last year, the event drew 1,200 students and community members and provided education, guidance and celebration from members of MCTC’s Addiction Counseling program, its students, local treatment centers, 12 Step programs and other local health programs. The event raised funds for Students Against Hunger and Homelessness, an MCTC student club which provides support for students experiencing homelessness.

This year’s event is marked by the recent passage of Steve’s Law during the 2014 legislative session. The law provides immunity to individuals who contact police to report a drug overdose, and allows first responders to carry Narcan, a drug designed to prevent death from opiate overdose. Key players in the law’s introduction and success will be at Operation Recovery, including Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek, State Senator Chris Eaton who introduced the law and Lexi Reed Holtum from the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation, for whom Steve’s Law is named.

This year’s event will include:

  • 30+ community programs providing information on addiction, recovery and related resources
  • Speakers including Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek, State Senator Chris Eaton and Lexi Reed Holtum from the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation
  • Free obstacle course
  • Raffle for great prizes
  • Cake walk and gift card giveaways
  • Free popcorn and cotton candy

To read about one of MCTC’s Addiction Counseling alumni and the success he experienced while in the program, click here. For a closer look at some of the events that took place at last year’s event, take a look at MCTC’s Facebook album!

MCTC Instructors Named MnSCU Outstanding Educators

Posted on: April 16th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Three Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) faculty members have been honored with the 2014 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Outstanding Educator award. Bayla McDougal (Addiction Counseling), Cheryl Neudauer (Biology) and Greg Skudlarek (HVACR) were nominated from the College community, tasked with compiling an extensive portfolio of their professional work and awarded the distinguished honor earlier this month.

About the Faculty

MnSCU Outstanding Educator 2014When Bayla McDougal started classes at MCTC in 1983, she was a single mother, on welfare and newly in recovery from drugs and alcohol. After 22 years working in the field of addiction counseling, she came back to MCTC as a faculty member in the same program. This fall she will celebrate her 10th year at the College. “I love this place,” she said. “My classrooms are made up of people age 18 to 65,” said Bayla. “Anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of the Addiction Counseling students are in recovery from alcohol or drug use. They are students who already have bachelor’s and master’s degrees, students in school for the first time and students who didn’t think finishing school was an option.” Bayla will take a sabbatical next year to begin work on a book about mindfulness in the classroom. She has been collecting data for this project for 10 years.

 

Neudauer-Outstanding-Educator-2014-200-2Cheryl Neudauer came to MCTC in 2003 as an adjunct Biology instructor, and 10 years later teaches both Physiology and Pathophysiology. Cheryl utilizes a “flipped-classroom model” in her classes: students work in groups to tackle the majority of their tasks, and Cheryl steps in to clarify difficult concepts. “These days, students can get almost any information online,” Cheryl said. “I’m trying to show students how they can think critically and utilize the resources they have.” After a few years of teaching, Cheryl turned her lectures and notes into a course outline with exercises and diagrams. “It’s very affordable, and saves my students almost $500 in textbook fees. They can take another three-credit class for that amount, and now they’re focusing on what’s important.” Among her many accomplishments prior to coming to MCTC, Cheryl taught at a community college in Virginia, performed post-doctoral cancer research and attended graduate school at both the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

 

MnSCU outstanding educator 2014Greg Skudlarek was cool before it was cool. He began working for his father’s refrigeration business at age 14, and began his skills education at one of MCTC’s sister schools: Alexandria Technical and Community College. Commuting to Minneapolis from Alexandria, Greg started his tenure with the College in 1989 when the program was called Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and was part of the Construction Electricity program along with Major Appliance Repair. In 1996 the program was officially recognized as a standalone program and re-named Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) and has become one of the top HVACR programs in Minnesota. “We’re drawing high-quality students to our program,” said Greg. “I have a student who drives from Cannon Falls to come here. He could have gone to Rochester or Redwing, or any of the other metro schools, but he chose to come here.” MCTC’s HVACR program is one of the most diverse in Minnesota, and has earned a reputation in the industry of graduating top-quality students. Greg strives to stay current with HVACR industry changes by attending training seminars, and operates a residential HVAC company in his Alexandria home during the summer.

 

The Outstanding Educator award is an honor bestowed upon a select number of MnSCU faculty to acknowledge and reward exceptional individual professional accomplishment and to encourage ongoing excellence. This designation by their presidents reflects the exceptional commitment that each of the nominees have demonstrated in teaching, in their continuous professional development, and in their service to students, the college and the MnSCU system.

This month, the MnSCU Board of Trustees will honor a total of 30 outstanding educators who teach at 17 colleges around the state. The board will also announce selection of its 2014 Educators of the Year—an extremely significant achievement. Click here for more information.