Monday, February 02, 2015

Grad School- Statement. "This is Me".

I attended CMU and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. My time at CMU was extended as I took on various life events. I finished my degree in 1991 having started it after high school in 1978. It was one of my most successful goals I completed.
I have worked using my degree for over 20 years in various State Agencies and privately. Each of my experiences would have benefitted from having a Masters in Counseling degree. The time for me, is now. My children are of an age they do not need my constant intervention, and I desire to continue and complete this goal. 
I was a “Resident Care Aide” for the State of Michigan at the Mt. Pleasant Center working with clients with various degrees of mental illnesses. I cared for clients in the least restrictive environment while helping them maintain a sense of dignity which was my goal (and the law). This involved doing IEP’s (Individual Educational Plans), personal care and activities of daily living, along with medical treatments. I  was thrilled to continue this position at the Michigan School for the Blind while it was located in Lansing Michigan. I worked in a school setting with Visually Impaired (and Multiply Impaired) Students in all grade levels. I have a son with Autism-(Asperger Syndrome) with whom we had to navigate the school system involved with his education. He is currently a Junior at a State University.  I have mentored many parents helping them with their child’s needs and getting school systems to assist them.
 I have been a State of Michigan Department of Corrections Parole/Probation Agent in the City of Saginaw and surrounding counties. Involved in this work was everything from counseling on jobs, relationship issues, employment options, drug addiction and civic duties. I enjoyed working within the Court system and seeing Offenders better their own situations. I currently work in Attorneys’ Offices, with cases ranging from Criminal to Civil, from child protective services (CPS), divorces, custody, bankruptcy, Heroin/Crack/Methadone users which then involve the entire family. It will be with these types of families I will continue to work with after my Master’s completion.
  I have worked as a Foster/Adoptive Recruiter/Trainer. My heart is here. I taught parenting classes for the Court system-everything from training adults in the Michigan based Adoptive courses to “Love and Logic” parenting classes both for the Courts, individuals and in School settings for parents and teachers.
 I taught for 7 years at Davenport University in the Criminal Justice Program. My involvement was instructing in Introductory Courses that Corrections Officer’s are required to take (Introduction to Corrections, Prison Life, Deviant Behavior, and also Personal Communications (Speech)).  
 I taught American Sign Language (although I am not licensed) through Gratiot-Isabella RESD ITV Program for 2 ½ years. I had perhaps one “live” class of students in front of me and 1-2 on TV monitors across the State. Schools included Dewitt, Central Montcalm, Breckenridge, Carson City, and Fulton. I also volunteered at St. Louis Michigan Alternative School.
I have been fortunate to have received many hours of training in Leadership Skills. Through the National Children’s Defense fund, I was an “Emerging Leader” of the Class of 2004. The Emerging Leaders project trained us to be social change activists.  We traveled to Washington DC several times and studied how to approach Lawmakers on the Hill and frame messages so they can be heard quickly.
I also completed Gratiot Counties “Leadership” program,  and Michigan’s Children “VOICES” academy- each training me how to be a more effective advocate for individuals, how to change Public Policy, and influence others toward good.
I am active in my community and currently serve as the President of the Airport Advisory Board for the City of Mt. Pleasant and as Secretary for International Relationship council of Mt. Pleasant. I am helping with the planned visit to our Sister city OKAYA Japan in August 2015.
My goals for completing my Master’s program are to continue Public Service. While not employed I always stayed busy volunteering in a Food Bank Program, Schools, Churches and supporting families. There is a huge need for compassionate trained personnel in this field. I see my future role continuing to do much the same my life path has already brought me. I want to be able to counsel women to make better life choices, to be able to give themselves better options and improve the lives of their children. I have worked counseling Felony Offenders to take parenting classes to regain custody of their children, and have worked with Foster families to gain skills needed for working with the children of Offenders. I have also had to guide both sides of families when a final placement of adoption was needed. My Master’s degree will assist me in doing this more effectively.
I love CMU. I love the Mt. Pleasant area. I want to attend classes and be involved in Campus activities and that is why I chose CMU over other learning programs. I look forward to beginning classes and starting this new chapter. 
Donna Husted Kriss
Foreign Student Host Family Recruiter
Mt. Pleasant Airport Advisory Board
International Relations Council Board
Love and Logic Facilitator
Gratiot County Leadership
Children's Defense Fund Emerging Leader
Michigan Children's VOICES

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