Residential SupervisorVirginia“We can provide clients with an opportunity to change. Even though they’ve made some mistakes, they can dust themselves off and reach for the sky.”
As a U. S. Marine Corps service member, Kevin has been helping teens at Phoenix House since 2000. Prior to Phoenix House and while on active duty, Kevin had a 16-year career in the military and gained experience working with young people as a mentor in the Marine Corps and as a volunteer with the DARE program. As a military recruiter, he often interacted with teens in high school. When he volunteered at a youth ranch in Texas caring for kids who were struggling academically, he found that the work appealed to him.
When Kevin was transferred to Virginia, he connected with a Phoenix House employee who encouraged him to apply for a position. Kevin visited and interviewed with Phoenix House Mid-Atlantic and loved it. Starting as a part-time residential specialist in 2000, he went on to become a residential coordinator and, after retiring from the military came on full time. He is now a residential supervisor and a certified substance abuse counseling assistant in the state of Virginia.
The transition from military to residential treatment was smooth, Kevin says, since he was used to navigating difficult situations and he already valued the structure that a residential treatment environment provides. Kevin has worked for both adult and adolescent populations at Phoenix House. As residential supervisor of the Boys Recovery Lodge, Kevin oversees the daily functioning of the program and client activities. This includes monitoring the clients during their daily activities and supervising staff while they coordinate activities, groups, and therapy. His day includes dealing with referrals, parents of clients, and meeting with clients and staff .
Kevin says part of his role is being a positive role model, providing consistency, and talking to clients about the future they can have without drugs. “We can provide them with an opportunity to change,” Kevin says. “Even though they’ve made some mistakes, they can dust themselves off and reach for the sky.”
Kevin emphasizes honesty and consistency and says the structure and positive approach are important to the clients as they navigate a life in recovery. The work is most rewarding, Kevin says, when he brings a client to a 12-step meeting outside of Phoenix House and runs into a former client who is still strong in recovery and plugged into a strong support network: “Sometimes they ask if they can come back and talk to the other kids. That’s rewarding itself right there.”