This is the second in a series of school counselor advocacy stories that will run online as a counterpart to the school advocacy stories running in Counseling Today’s Counselor, Educator, Advocate column. To read the first post in this series, click here.
Greg Kirkham, a school counselor at Zionsville Community High School, had the unique experience of teaming up with his son Josh, a student at the school, to start a club promoting positive, healthy choices.
The club, called Eagles Making Positive Choices, is for students who make a pledge to be alcohol- and drug-free. The group’s motto is “Pay it forward,” which reflects the group’s volunteer spirit within the community and at school activities. During the 2011-12 school year, there were 110 students in the group. Volunteer events included work with Boone Co. Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, area nursing homes, Zionsville Education Foundation and Zionsville Parks Department, as well as tutoring students, guiding new students, raking leaves and shoveling snow for the elderly, and other good deeds within the community.
As a professional school counselor who is constantly working to improve school climate and to create opportunities for students to practice being engaged citizens, Kirkham sees the opportunity of overseeing this Positive Choices group as a natural, student advocate role. Working side by side with the students as a community volunteer has allowed Kirkham to develop personal relationships with students that result in positive, productive interactions during the school day as well.