Lavonne Heckman is a Behavioral Health Aide in Pilot Station. She was born in Anchorage and grew up moving back and forth between Mountain Village and Anchorage. She graduated high school in 2006 in Mountain Village, and continued her school at the Career Academy for Business in Anchorage.
Eventually she wants to go to culinary arts school and open up her own cooking and baking business, which is quite the contrast to her current occupation. After she finished career school she started working as a home visitor—an in-house teacher for pre-natal to 3-years-olds. After a year and a half she had some kids of her own, and took a break from home schooling. As her children got older she decided to apply for the Behavioral Health Aide position, and in May, 2011, she started her training.
She was kept busy, raising two children, learning a new job and planning a wedding as well. But she didn’t mind. She said, “If I’m not busy I’m not myself.” And even now she keeps herself busy. Not only with helping her family and raising her three children, but she helps the community as well by giving educational presentations about topics like suicide prevention, STDs, domestic violence and prescription drug abuse. However, Lavonne still finds time to clean house and go for walks with her children. Her husband, [NAME?], is a commercial fisherman, so her family doesn’t see much of him during the summer.
Having such a busy job and raising three children is not easy, but Lavonne feels that she learns so much from her job that she can apply to everyday life in a way that benefits her home and family. She works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week, working with drug, alcohol and anger management both individually and in groups. It can be quite a heavy workload—dealing with clients and the amount of paperwork that follows.
Lavonne said that spending the majority of her time in her office alone and meeting with her clients makes her feel a bit secluded from the rest of the clinic. Luckily, the team of Behavioral Health Aides within YKHC supports each other, teaching one another things that may alleviate their individual work. This team spirit is quite essential to not feeling left out.
Lavonne enjoys her job a lot; she feels that it teaches her so much she never would have really given much thought to about life as well as receiving so many different perspectives and understandings from people. As she helps people deal with their situations and she sees them grow as persons and sees how thankful they are for her being there for them, she understands that her position is very important to the society. She can see that people know that if they need help or someone to talk to, they can always turn to her. Sadly, often times people will not show up to their appointments, or will reschedule them. She said, “A successful week is a week when everyone shows up!”
Many times people will question why she is in her position, not only because of her young age, but also because of lack of understanding for what a Behavioral Health Aide does. But the gratitude her clients show her in return for her being there and supporting them in growth to be better people outweighs the negativity she meets.