Peer Counselor Kristin Parise
I am 30 years old, married with three children (Kylie, Gavyn and Lillyana). I currently work for Abilities First Inc. as a Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC). I work with developmentally disabled children/adults and their families. My caseload consists of primarily children. I have worked for this agency for the past five years. Prior to my work as an MSC, I was a one-on-one aide in our school program for a little girl diagnosed with Autism and a seizure disorder.
I graduated from Marist College in May 2008 with my Bachelors of Social Work, BSW and have a Masters in Social Work from Adelphi University. My thesis paper is on Adolescent Substance Abuse and the Importance of Family Involvement.
While in middle school and high school, I was a member of Peer Leadership and Peer Mediation. As a peer mediator, I facilitated conflict resolution amongst students. I was also very active in sports. I was the fourth player ever to start on the varsity soccer team as a 7th grader. I also was on the varsity basketball team in 8th grade. I played both sports throughout my schooling and was nominated to the Roosevelt Hall of Fame my senior year. I am still active in sports to this day, continuing to play both soccer and basketball on local women’s leagues.
I also worked at the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie for over two years, as a direct care worker in an all boys cottage. The ages of the boys ranged from 5-21 years old. There were several different diagnoses among the boys, some learning disabilities, and other with emotional disabilities. Behavioral issues that required different forms of interventions, is another area of experience gained from this position.
I completed a full year internship with a program called the Intensive Treatment Alternative Program through the Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene. This is a substance abuse treatment program that is an alternative to incarceration. While an intern, I provided individual, small, and large group therapy. All my individual clients were 18-21 years of age.