St Peter staff member and program graduate recognized for helping kids
Sophia Stanley, a Chemical Dependency Professional for the Providence St. Peter Chemical Dependency Center (CDC), recently was recognized as a “Champion for Kids” by Together, a local organization that serves the South Sound area with youth substance abuse prevention and health promotion activities.
Addressing a need
In her role at the CDC, Sophia works with Thurston County’s Juvenile Drug Program, helping adolescents learn to set achievable goals and make better choices for their futures. Being a graduate of a drug court program herself, years ago, Sophia has a unique understanding of how the system works and how to help these young people navigate successfully.
Sophia says many of the kids she works with are repeat offenders in the court system, and addiction is at the core of the problem. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell which problem is the primary issue,” she says.
“Our county’s drug court for juveniles is family-oriented, which is unique,” Sophia says. “The court encourages family members to be included in the process and provides incentives to change behavior. For a lot of the kids in the program, this is their last chance before they go to juvenile prison.”
Sophia describes drug court as something of a marriage of court and treatment. In helping the participants, she works closely with the prosecutor, the commissioner and the kids’ legal teams. The program is conducted in four phases, and each phase has increasingly challenging expectations. The treatment component continues throughout the process, which lasts from eight to 15 months. Its focus is on behavior, and is less punitive than the regular court system.
“It’s important to meet the kids where they are,” she says. “We plant seeds of encouragement, and the kids know that drug court is a right, not a privilege.”
About the award, Sophia says she was caught completely by surprise. “I didn’t even know I was nominated,” she says. “I was very humbled.”
Through programs and donations, Providence fills gaps in community services and provides opportunities that bring hope in difficult times. Community leaders have identified behavioral health services, including chemical dependency treatment, to be an unmet need in our community.
Providence lives its mission through programs like the CDC, reaching out to touch lives in the places where relief, comfort and care are needed.