Could we get some biographical information from you? Where you’re from, academic history, professional history, experiences in recovery, family life etc?
I am originally from Franklin County, Virginia. I moved to Norfolk, Virginia after completing high school to study Marine Biology at Old Dominion University. When drugs and alcohol started taking over my life, I stepped away from school for a while and went to Florida. In 2013, I began my journey of recovery at a treatment center in South Florida.
Through my personal recovery journey, I found that I really enjoyed helping other addicts recover. I decided to move to North Carolina so that I could go back to school and later graduated from Old Dominion University with a Human Services Degree.
I am currently a graduate student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working towards my Master of Social Work. I just recently got engaged and live in Chapel Hill with my fiance and dog, Cooper.
What made you want to work in a) the clinical field generally and b) substance abuse specifically?
I found that I had a passion for working with individuals experiencing substance use disorders when I was sponsoring women in the recovery community. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing their lives change which made me want to continue to do this work. Before deciding to go to school for this field, I got an entry level position at a treatment center in South Florida and quickly found that this was what I wanted to do with my life.
What precisely does a Clinical Case Manager do?
As the Clinical Case Manager at Green Hill, I wear multiple hats. I help provide academic and vocational support to the residents through case management sessions, facilitate scheduling of medical appointments, manage all client’s medication. I also manage admissions upon arrival at our organization, and help facilitate all aspects of the Transitional Living program. I often serve as the point of contact for any questions or concerns regarding the Transitional Living program and aim to support our residents with any of their needs.
What keeps you coming back day after day?
Definitely our Transitional Living residents! I have found a passion for working with individuals experiencing mental health and substance use disorders. Each day, our residents surprise me with the amount of growth they make, whether it be recovery related or not, seeing that spark in their eye is comforting. It is comforting to know that the work they are doing is making a difference in their life.
What do you believe makes Green Hill stand out in its field, and why?
Green Hill focuses on empowering young adults to live with purpose. Many of our clients have not experienced life outside of using drugs or alcohol. Green Hill truly tries to find the strengths in our clients that will help them live a productive life. We encourage our clients to develop the essential executive functioning skills that they need in order to continue to thrive. We want our residents to complete our program with the ability to live on their own with skills that will help them succeed.
What’s the one message you’d like the parents and loved ones of our residents and clients to know?
Each of our staff is committed to helping your child. We develop a connection with our clients where they can lean on us for the support to get through this new point in their lives. We want them to walk away from Green Hill with the skills they need to live on their own and manage their life without needing drugs and alcohol to do so.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? How has that advice affected your day-to-day?
Growing up I played a lot of sports and had a lot of coaches who would push me to my limit. On the wall of the gym where I did gymnastics was a sign with the word “Can’t” which had a circle around it with a diagonal line going over it. My coach would not allow us to use the word “can’t”, it was a forbidden word at the gym. She would always tell us, if there is something that you want to do then you can do it if you put your mind to it. I have tried to carry this message with me to this day. I think it is important to strive to meet your goals and dreams which is what I try to do on a daily basis.
What’s one memory you’ll always take with you from your time here in Green Hill?
Wow, how can I choose just one memory?! I cherish every moment at Green Hill because the guys we work with have made an impact on my life. The most rewarding part of my job is for the residents to tell me they have had something good happen.
For instance, I’ve had guys walk into a room yelling at me with excitement a about how they got a good grade, or got the job. I even get phone calls or text messages from program alumni to tell me about their academic and personal milestones. These are all the memories that I will forever cherish and take with me: seeing the success of our residents.
When you’re not at work, what do you do to recharge your batteries?
I have just recently got into practicing yoga which I find very relaxing and calming. After a long day I will come home and do yoga to clear away the day and restart. I am also a country girl so I enjoy doing activities outside. In the summer my favorite thing to do is go fishing or go on hikes with my dog, Cooper.
What does your ideal day look like?
My ideal day would be spending time with family. I love the days where we can be in the pool all day, playing some pool badminton. We ended the day with a cookout on the grill and a bonfire at night.
What makes Raleigh a superb environment for young people in recovery?
Raleigh is such a growing city and has a lot of recovery opportunities for young people in recovery. There are many recovery meetings in the Triangle that are specifically for young people in recovery which provides the opportunity to meet other young people who are in recovery. There are also some amazing recovery programs/groups at the local colleges in the area where young people in recovery can find support from other students.
What’s one message you wish our residents at Green Hill would always take with them?
We are always a phone call away! We will always be there for you whenever you need us!
Quick Facts about Samantha
Undergraduate: Old Dominion University-Norfolk, VA
Graduate school: Current enrolled in MSW at UNC- Chapel Hill
Desert Island Movie: Fried Green Tomatoes
Favorite Album: T.E.T.I.O.S., Papadosio
Dream Vacation: Anywhere where I can hike and have beautiful scenery
Favorite spot in Raleigh: All restaurants, I LOVE food!
Favorite meal: A nice steak with a side of mac-n-cheese
Dream job as a child: I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, went to college for it and realized that I had other passions.
Guiltiest pleasure: ANYTHING Sweet, I have a major sweet tooth