Congratulations to Vera Harrison, this month’s featured member! Vera works with the Women of Colors Prevention Team to effect change in the community. Evelyn McGovern, WOC President and Cofounder, nominated Vera for this month’s member spotlight because Vera has shown great dedication by volunteering at many different events to represent WOC’s prevention program and teaching the Prime for Life curriculum.
“Vera is helping to bridge a gap in the community, and the partnership and relationship that WOC has built with her have been very positive in that we’re able to reach more people and service more families through her efforts,” says Evelyn. “She is also employed at the CAN Council, where she teaches a parenting class and is very instrumental in helping a lot of parents in the community.”
Vera became interested in getting involved in WOC after watching some of the parents she worked with at the CAN Council seemingly struggling through addiction. She decided she wanted to receive her Certified Prevention Specialist certification through MCBAP, in order to be educated on substance abuse prevention to better serve these parents. “I reached out to Evelyn to see if WOC would be willing to take me under their wing,” Vera recalls. “WOC was known for their work with substance abuse prevention.”
Vera is now a Prevention Specialist with Women of Colors. “I am trained in Prime for Life, an alcohol and substance abuse education program,” she explains. “We offer the training to the community and schools. I also train Racial Justice and Wellness.” Vera hopes to eventually be trained in other programs that will benefit community members and educate them on making low-risk choices when it comes to alcohol and drugs.
Vera strongly believes that education is the key to prevention: “We work with middle and high school students, businesses, faith-based organizations, and individuals in the juvenile justice system. We are always looking for places to teach our programs.”
Although it was not easy switching from doing education on preventing child abuse to substance abuse prevention, Vera learned a great deal about herself as a leader from this experience. “I really enjoy working with the WOC Prevention Team,” she says. “They supported me as I learned, offering extra help and going above and beyond to make sure I was successful.” Vera also learned that when she sees an issue or concern, she will do whatever she can to help her community overcome it.
Vera hopes that her impact on the community and on anyone receiving training from WOC will include them making choices that will help them protect the things that they value most: “Sometimes we make unhealthy choices that cause us to lose things that we value like family, friends, and employment. I want the trainings that we offer through WOC to be an eye-opener for people. I want them to leave our trainings thinking about the choices they are making and questioning whether they are healthy and have their best interest at heart. I want to be part of the change.”