By Chloe Goldstein
Volume 69, Issue II
Briarcliff Bulletin- So, you previously worked at Briarcliff High School, correct?
Mrs. Ohmes– Yes, so we work for a private agency called Student Assistant Services and they provide student assistant counselors for schools in Westchester. I’ve been with Student Assistant Services as a counselor since 2002. And about four years ago, I gave up my permanent spot at Dobbs Ferry High School and began doing leave replacements, so I would be able to have more flexibility. Last year, I substituted for Ms. Giordano during her maternity leave. When she decided not to return, I trained the Mrs. Bucci, the new counselor to replace her position. When Mrs. Bucci decided not to return, I was asked to fill in for her until the position was permanently filled.
BB-What have you been up to since you left BHS last year?
MO-Since I left here last year, I went to Blind Brook High School and did a maternity leave replacement there. That’s where I was for the rest of the year last year. And then in the beginning of this year, I actually wasn’t able to do any leave replacements in the fall. Which worked out perfectly because Mrs. French had asked the agency if I could return to Briarcliff.
BB– What is your job as the school student assistant counselor.
MO– Basically my job is to implement the student assistance program, which is a licensed program that provides prevention and intervention services to the school around substance issues. So as part of that, we do various things. We work with kids individually in counseling and all kinds of things. Just because kids come in here, does not mean they are necessarily worried about issues involving substances. We see a lot of kids with common issues such as conflict with peers, stress management, dealing with parents, and depression. Others come in if they are worried about friends or family alcohol use. Many want a confidential place where they can come in and get help and advice on decreasing their use of alcohol. Because we are part of a private agency, we have a very strict confidentiality law. So, we actually cannot tell things to your parents or school.
BB- Is there anything in particular that made you choose this career?
MO– When I was in high school, I took my first psychology class, and I loved it. I just found it so fascinating. I knew right away that I was going to major in that in college. So, I got my bachelor’s in psychology. In college, I did some volunteer work with the children of inmates. When I went to graduate school to get my master’s, I decided I really wanted to focus on the counseling piece. And then for about eight years, I worked in an outpatient mental health clinic, focusing on children and adolescence. When I heard about student assistance, it was perfect because you wouldn’t just do counseling all day, it would be a variety of things.