Karla Danner

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Karla Danner
Safety Manager/Residential Technician Supervisor
The Link, Inc., Dual Recovery Program
Norfolk, NE
 
Hometown:
Pierce, NE
 
Education:
Working towards my Provisionally Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PLADC) license through Northeast Community College (NECC), attending Chadron State College to finish my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. My goal is to become a Provisionally Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (PLMHP). I am also taking the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) facilitator’s course.
 
How did you become interested in your profession?
Honestly, addiction is very close and personal to me. My brother passed away in active addiction and my sister is now 14 years clean. I credit my sister’s recovery to going through treatment and counseling; my brother did not. My first job in Behavioral Health was as a Human Service Technician in a short-term residential treatment program; I gained knowledge and an understanding of addiction. I am a very spiritual person and am blessed every day to be part of a program that offers help and support through evidence-based practices.
 
What have you enjoyed most about your internship and training programs?
I love being able to learn the different theories in counseling; how each theory can assist the client to collaborate actively in their counseling, treatment planning, and recovery. I love to help others; not by doing for them, but rather, teaching and guiding them in how to do for themselves. The internship is amazing! I am learning so much about the behind-the-scenes functioning; treatment planning, diagnosing, different techniques for guidance, support, growth of the client. Learning different referral sources has been very helpful, although, a little disheartening learning how services are pretty scarce in our rural areas.
 
How has this experience helped prepare you for your career?
This experience, the classes, internship; have literally been a dream come true for me! I started at Chadron State College in 1990 to earn a Master’s in Social Work and a Bachelor’s in Psychology. I got married and started a family in 1991. The marriage failed; being a single mom is a tough responsibility; I abandoned my educational dreams to raise my children. Without higher education, wages are low, so I must work full-time. The pandemic, however, was my blessing in disguise; classes went on-line, opening the possibility to finish my education. I still do not know how my name ended up on BHECN’s list, but, I received the email about the PLADC grant.
 
What are your career aspirations?
I am excited about my career options. My plans for the short-term are, of course, to finish the PLADC courses, and while I am interning, I will continue to finish my degree at Chadron State College to become a PLMHP. After that, who knows!! I do know that this is what I am meant to do and I am forever grateful to BHECN for offering this grant program. I hope to be an important part of connecting persons in need to available services, as well as offering my services, most likely, with a non-profit organization. Rural America suffers from a lack of available services…geography, financial costs, and availability are a heavy burden in these areas. Substance abuse and mental health issues only continue to grow; so, my main career aspiration is to be an available beacon of hope to those who suffer.
 
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Taking courses at two different colleges and continuing to work full-time does not leave much free time, however, I am blessed to have both my children, grandchildren close by, so any chance to see them, I take. It is a busy world, and time can slip away very quickly, so I try not to miss a moment. Many years back, my mother moved in with me; she is my best friend, my inspiration, and my biggest supporter. We spend some quiet evenings together, usually her working on diamond painting and me working on homework. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, painting figurines, and spoiling my dogs.

 

BHECN’s Ambassador Program creates a pipeline of Nebraska students interested in behavioral health beginning as early as their high school years. It follows students from high school and college, through professional school and on to careers in behavioral health.

 

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