March 1, 2022
Jan Ryan, Prevention Consultant, Redleaf Resources.
Every month we feature stories of individuals and agencies that are making a difference in their communities during these challenging times since COVID-19. Today we are talking with Jim Rothblatt, Owner/Director, Redleaf Resources and Jan Ryan Prevention Consultant, Redleaf Resources.
Jim Rothblatt has experience providing direct service to students, parents and staff having served on various school and district administrative teams as a School Counselor, a Student Assistance Program Specialist. He also has served as a Field Colleague for the California Department of Education on Consolidated Compliance Review Teams.
Jan Ryan has worked in the field of prevention as an educator and consultant, providing direct service, implementing programs, writing grants, and training at local, state, national, and international levels. She is known for helping schools, county and community-based organizations with customized, innovative and sustainable Student Assistance Program (SAP) designs that meet the mandates of available funding.
How did you get interested in the field of Education and Mental Health and when did you get involved with your work with the Brief Risk Reduction Interview and Intervention Model (BRRIIM)?
Jim: I became interested in Prevention Education in 1977 when I got my first job as a School Counselor. In 1983. I attended a five-day workshop on how to develop and implement a school district-wide alcohol and drug intervention program. The program expanded and by district policy was to include any and all barriers to learning and was open to all students’ their families. I retired form working in schools and from my practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 2006. I am the owner of Redleaf Resources and am lucky enough to be part of a team of like-minded Prevention Professionals making a difference in systems in Ventura County and beyond.
Jan: In 1986, I took a part-time job with the Rand Corporation teaching Project Alert in San Bernardino schools, then, switched from teaching to be hired as the first Coordinator of the district-wide Student Assistance Program.
What is your passion for working in the community?
Jim: To work toward supporting individuals to become self-empowered to achieve their best potential. To work toward supporting social support systems, especially educators to become more proficient at what they do. To do my bit to make the world a better place for all of us as we share mutual respect for one another.
Jan: Schools can be the heart of a community if the students and families feel cared for there. But since it can be a seriously flawed system, there needs to be a way to “stop the speeding train” that schools can feel like to families. Student Assistance Programs shows the families and the system the value of “slowing down to go fast.” SAP creates schools where listening to and including everyone is vital to everyone.
How are you specifically addressing issues of Health Equity in your work and your community? How are you making a difference?
Jim: Equal access and health equity are two of the driving ideals that drive what I do in working with schools and mental health organizations. It is through providing BRRIIM SAP Technical Assistance and Training whenever I am asked that I believe I am making a positive difference to those served.
Jan: Health equity at the individual level means listening to people talk about, think about, and plan for their health as individuals like we do with the Brief Risk Reduction Interview and Intervention Model (BRRIIM). This is both personal and policy-based change. SAP is how a system can support individuals and learn from them how the system is working or not and make improvements that impact every student in every school.
What are the areas that you hope to make changes in?
Jim: To work with mental health organizations and school districts to provide equal access through equity-based direct support to individuals and families based upon their indicated needs.
Jan: I want every student/family to have access to a Student Assistance Program when they are concerned about their own or someone else’s AOD use or other barrier to learning. I want every Prevention Coordinator to take SAP on the way that VCBH Prevention Services and the Provider’s Network does. Because, if they did, it would show California that substance use prevention works, is visible and is working in every community. In the school year 2021-21, in California schools, 21% of the suspensions (3,198) were “Illicit Drug Related” (as labeled by the California Department of Education DataQuest system). Whether the number is 3,198, or 43,801 in 19/20 or 63,132 in 18/19, all these suspensions have a student’s name on it so we know who might be having trouble.
If you could give a closing remark for or words of inspiration for the community during this time, what would it be?
Jim: Stay healthy, live long and let’s work together to make our world, our communities and our families the best they can be.
Jan: Never work alone. It is not only hard; it is not sustainable. Build teams based on trust and time together.
Thank you Jim and Jan for sharing your experience with us. You are inspiring Drivers of Change!