The Rehabilitative Journey Of Jessica Robinson
MTC operates 19 treatment programs for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at correctional facilities across the state. For the substance abuse treatment programming piece of those contracts, MTC partners with local colleges to provide practicum opportunities for students studying to become licensed counselors. Essentially, this is workplace training. MTC region three Director Brandi Hornsby oversees ten of MTC’s programming contracts. She sees great value in MTC offering practicum hours to these students, some of whom are hired on as interns.
“It’s just one of those things that they get the experience. It’s a fit for some, and it’s not a fit for everybody. So, if it’s a fit, we love to have them, and if it’s not, then we completely understand that, too.”
Jessica Robinson did her practicum hours at the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, TX.
“It really is a great learning opportunity,” Jessica indicated. “To come on as a practicum student. The on-the-job training that I received here really set me up to be able to jump right into my internship and just hit the ground moving. There are always going to be some learning curves. And the staff at Estelle…just being able to pull me aside and give me that constructive criticism. And always, always in a caring and a compassionate way.”
After completing her practicum hours, Jessica was hired as an intern at Estelle. 5,000 hours later, and after passing her state board exam, Jessica qualified as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, or LCDC, and remains at Estelle.
“Ms. Robinson is a perfect example,” says Brandi. “Because she did come to us as a practicum student at Estelle, and then she came back and took on a full-time position as an intern. And now she’s an LCDC, and she is doing a great job as a supervisor at Estelle.”
“I think the most rewarding part of my job,” explains Jessica, “is whenever we see that change in the client, especially if we’re dealing with a client that maybe has more struggles. It’s just an amazing thing whenever you see that light come on, you see that change in their behavior, you see that change in the way they talk to people, the way they talk about themselves, even.”
There’s more to Jessica’s success story. She was once incarcerated as a result of her own addictions.
“I’m giving away my recovery,” she says, “so I can keep it. We have that saying that says, ‘give it away to keep it’, and so I give it away every day because I want to keep mine.
“I have an amazing husband, an amazing son that supports me and have my back no matter what. And their encouragement, it means the world to me. With that being said, I have the encouragement of the staff here, as well.
“It’s the refusal to give up. So, having a bad day? Don’t give up, push forward, and don’t let that day conquer you. You can conquer that day. And guess what? If it’s terrible? Turn around and start over the next day, and it’ll be fine. Just keep moving forward.”