By Ray Clements
For Senior Voice 

Free panel discussion will look at senior substance abuse

Nov. 21 in Anchorage


“Oh, that’s how it is done!”

Whether it is a young child, learning how to read, or an older adult, learning how to use a computer, having a mentor can make it much easier to learn. A teacher or experienced person can show us, for example, what the combination of letters makes for the spelling of a word, or the left click on the mouse will access a computer command. In an academic setting, as it is in much of life, the theory of learning is best reinforced by experimenting and doing.

“Putting theory into practice” is the motto of the Human Service Department at University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA).

Today, the alarming number of baby boomers reaching the age of 65 and older presents many challenges, one of which is the prevalence of alcohol and prescription drug abuse. In a class, Older Adults and Substance Abuse, offered at UAA by the Human Services Department, chaired by Laura Kelley, Ph.D., students are given the opportunity to visit and see first hand programs such as the Salvation Army Clitheroe Center and Homeward Bound, sponsored by Rural Cap, which are designed to aid in the rehabilitation of alcohol and drug addicts.

The students also learn the best practices in this field by volunteering at places like the Anchorage Gospel Mission or the Downtown Soup Kitchen.

In addition, they learn from the lifelong experiences of guest presenters, such as Ella Craig, a 94-year old retired social worker, who has had a wealth of accumulated knowledge of social conditions and the numerous non-profits addressing them during her 50 plus years of work in Alaska.

Nov. 21 will be a golden opportunity to hear and learn about substance abuse treatment programs and success stories when four experienced human service workers share their insights during a panel presentation. Mentors will be David Williams from the Anchorage Gospel Mission; Major Scott Nicoly, Clitheroe Center; Nicole Clarke-Frechette, Ernie Turner Center; and Melinda Freemon, Homeward Bound/Karluk Manor.

UAA student Polly Andrews will moderate.

Attendees will also hear personal stories of successful substance abuse treatment from members of our community. The event will also feature some of the recommended books in this field on display and for sale, arranged by Rachel Epstein, Special Events Coordinator for the UAA Bookstore.

When and where will this take place? The UAA Processional Studies Building, Room 166, on the corner of 36th Ave. and Lake Otis Pkwy., Thursday, Nov. 21, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Free parking, courtesy of Desiree Stiner, UAA Parking Services, will be available in the West Parking lot adjacent to this building on the corner of 36th and Lake Otis.

The event is presented by the UAA Human Services Class Older Adults and Substance Abuse and is co-sponsored by the Dean of Students Office, Alcohol, Drug and Wellness Educator, Older Persons Action Group, and the UAA Bookstore. Major funding is provided by The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. The event will be videotaped by Nez Danguilan, producer of Fil-Am Showtime. For more information or a DVD, contact the UAA Alcohol, Drug, and Wellness Educator, Amanda Murdock, at 786-1511.

Join us for this free special mentoring opportunity open to the campus and the public.


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