Behavioral Health program graduate featured in Reading Eagle
‘At Your Service’ is a weekly feature from the Reading Eagle spotlighting volunteers and community servants in Berks County. On Dec. 28, they featured Kim Horan, who graduated from Alvernia’s Behavioral Health program on Dec. 15.
Lives in: Orwigsburg
Family: Boyfriend, Randy Grove; 19-year-old daughter, Cassidy Sierra.
My role: I observe and co-facilitate group counseling sessions pertaining to education about drug and alcohol addictions for Berks Counseling Center. The center is a nonprofit licensed to provide behavioral health outpatient treatment services, case management and other supportive services.
How I got involved: I graduated from Alvernia University on Dec. 15 with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral health studies. I chose to volunteer at Berks Counseling Center as an opportunity to explore an agency in the human services field and gain hands-on experience.
What motivates me: I decided to return to college after dropping out of Kutztown many years ago, and really liked this degree offered at Alvernia. The education includes classes in psychology, mental health and addiction, which is where my passion lies. I am an adult child of an alcoholic and growing up I felt very alone in my dysfunctional family. I am very passionate about helping younger people who are using or are thinking about using drugs or alcohol. Our youth need to know that they are not alone and that there are healthy ways to get through tough times.
What makes my service interesting: The best part is listening to clients share their stories. I interned at two different agencies from June through November. Both were great opportunities, but I realized that I really want to be hands-on with the clients I work with. Listening to so many people has helped me get a better understanding on what we hold important in life.
An experience that impacted me: When a client or patient comes to counseling for legal reasons, they normally start out with a less-than-positive attitude. If you get lucky in this field, you observe a client change, get more involved in his recovery, start attending outside 12 Step meetings, or get the help of a sponsor. That makes it all worthwhile.
You might not know: For the past 12 years, I have been self-employed as a drywall finisher and painter. Let me brag here and tell you I am very good at it and really like it. But it was time to get a less-physically-demanding career, and I cannot wait to start my new career.
What others are saying: Chris Axford, chief operating officer for Berks Counseling Center: “I think Kim has a passion and a commitment to learning that is special. Her volunteerism is indicative of that commitment.”
If you want to make a difference in your community, earning a Behavioral Health degree from Alvernia University in Reading prepares you to be an impactful leader in addiction studies, mental health or child welfare.
This article was originally featured in the Reading Eagle’s ‘At Your Service’ weekly feature.