California Career College Offers Army Reserve Veteran, Former Addict a Second Chance at Success
January 6, 2015 Elk Grove, California
ELK GROVE, Calif. – There are many challenges, obligations and responsibilities that accompany the decision of going back to school.
For Carl Belton, those challenges included working tirelessly to make his car and child support payments on top of the rest of his bills while recently separating from his wife. The thought of going to school full-time while dealing with these life issues seemed impossible.
Belton, a veteran who served in the Army Reserve for six years, is a former student of the Alcohol Drug Counseling Studies program at the Elk Grove, Calif. campus of InterCoast College and admits that at first he didn’t have any formal plans to attend school.
InterCoast College is a private career college designed to provide associates degree and diploma level career programs that prepare students to succeed in specialized fields of allied health, legal, business and trade industries.
Playing the college game before, Belton had been in and out of college prior to his time at InterCoast but had yet to conclude which area of study he wanted to explore. As a former addict who witnessed the ways in which substance abuse negatively affected his life as well as the lives of others, the veteran began to become increasingly interested in the ADCS program.
After speaking with a recruiter at the career college, Belton knew he was making the right decision.
“He was very persuasive and was also a veteran so I felt like I could relate to him,” said Belton. “I also received help from the Veterans Resource Center on campus and they really helped me work everything out.”
Belton was pleased to find out that he qualified for the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, a program that provides assistance to pay for training pursued towards an education. The funding was more than enough to begin his educational journey.
Since one of his biggest challenges was trying to work school around getting his bills paid, Belton began attending both day and night classes in order to complete the program successfully.
“Both of my instructors were very flexible with my job and my schedule,” said Belton. “They both had their own teaching styles and very well versed in the field, which I liked. But ultimately they just want to see you succeed.”
In addition to the support Belton received from his instructors, Belton also credits his classmates for keeping him encouraged and motivated to finish the ADSC program. His externship at D & A Detox gave Belton gave valuable hands on experience in the counseling field.
After graduating from the program in December of 2013, one of his former instructors assisted him in the job search process, playing a key role in helping him get hired.
“I stayed in contact with her following graduation and she really helped me with my resume,” said Belton. “She is so well connected in the recovery field and knows so many people. So when she called me and told me about a position that was open I couldn’t pass it up.”
Belton ended up landing a position at Community Recovery Resources (CoRR) in Auborn, Calif., a non-profit organization that focuses on programs that assist and improve the lives families and children that have dealt with substance abuse situations.
As a house manager at CoRR for the last four months, Belton’s duties include overseeing house operations, residents and facilitating counseling groups. He is also responsible for ordering food and materials that enhance the lives of residents and transportation between campuses.
“The most fulfilling thing to me is when a patient gets it. That they continue to stay in touch with us after getting help and they are still living a clean and sober life,” said Belton. “You want to them living life in a positive way and see them reunite with their families.”
Belton goes on to explain that as a former addict himself, he understands the struggle and that the only way a patient will get sober is if the patient finds it in themselves.
“Just like going to school you have to want it for yourself and no one else,” said Belton. “It’s a great feeling when you can influence and encourage someone to be the best they can be. You just have to keep going.”