Looking back at my experiences at Southwest Chicago Christian School, I immediately think of friendships forged in grade school that have lasted for over forty years. Since high school ended, I have been blessed to have met many new friends along the way; however, I am grateful to have such longtime friends that I still hang out with today. When we find time to hang out, we often look back and reminisce about a lot of dumb and embarrassing stories involving pranks, stunts in cars, first jobs hijinks, team sports shenanigans, and feats of sheer adolescent attention-seeking stupidity all for the slightest chance to amuse each other. In my mind, the perceived reward always outweighed any real risks of social embarrassment or potential for physical harm. To those of you who are former faculty and students at CCHS in the early 1990s, thank you for being patient and giving me a whole lot of grace. I still cannot believe the faculty entrusted us to make repairs to their personal cars in shop class. Seriously, just pull out your yearbook and take a good long look. Lots of things have changed since high school; yet in our time shared together as friends, some things today remain nearly exactly the way they have always been. That is a gift.
Since graduating from CCHS in 1994, I received a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Psychology and minoring in Theology from Trinity Christian College. I then completed my Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from Adler University in Chicago. I was fortunate to have met my wife Priscilla during my time at Adler University; whereby we continue to support each other throughout our careers as helping professionals. I started out working in outpatient community mental health for about 10 years where I provided substance abuse treatment services and mental health services to at-risk youth involved in the criminal justice system. I was then blessed to manage a mental health crisis stabilization team and then coordinate adult services programming for about 8 years before transitioning to my current employment as the Problem-Solving Court Coordinator for the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office and the 12th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois. For the past two years, I have been blessed to oversee diversion programming which provides individuals who have either a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder the opportunity to receive community-based services, community supervision and support, and judicial intervention in lieu of incarceration. I am blessed to find myself working alongside a dedicated multidisciplinary team whereby we work to break the cycle of addiction and individuals and their families’ lives are transformed, where hope is discovered, and healing occurs.
In reflecting back, I am grateful to have had such a foundational educational experience at Southwest Christian Schools which helped to prepare me to be a seeker of knowledge, pursuer of justice, caretaker of creation, and follower of Christ. I am grateful that my parents really sacrificed their wants and needs so that I could grow up in a Christ-centered community that calls for restoring God’s world. I am grateful that my wife and I both share a deep commitment to Christian education and that Priscilla can engage the SCCS community and serve on the Board of Directors. We are also blessed to be able to send our daughter to Southwest Chicago Christian Schools where she can learn how she’s been fearfully and wonderfully made and where she will continue to grow spiritually, socially, academically, culturally, and physically to the glory of God.