Second step

. October 23, 2012.
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Counselors involved with Hancock County youth had known for several years that incidences of bullying and violence were on the rise in our schools. When a student at Virginia Tech took the lives of 32 students in 2007, area professionals agreed it was time to work on a program of prevention; a program that would address substance abuse as well as aggressive behavior.

“With the leadership of Precia Stuby, we formed a committee called ‘Reducing the Risk of Violence’,’’says Barbara Dysinger, Director of the ADAMHS Board (Alcohol, Drug Addiction, Mental Health Services). “Precia continues to host the committee today.”

As an outgrowth of the committee, Dysinger, a licensed counselor and former teacher, is now helping to bring a nationally-known program to Findlay City and Hancock County Schools. The program, Second Step, was developed by the Seattle-based Committee for Children and introduced to the local group by Carol Taylor of The Family Resource Center. Targeted at middle school students, Second Step teaches social and emotional skills which have been shown in extensive research to increase positive relationships, improve school success and prevent early onset of alcohol/drug use. “Research has also shown those same skills promotes a decrease in bullying, aggression and violence,” Dysinger adds.

A background of building

Barbara Dysinger left her job as an English teacher at Findlay High School to raise her children.  Seventeen years later, she returned to Findlay City Schools as a substitute, but discovered her true passion was helping kids deal with a wide range of personal and family issues.  She returned to school at Bowling Green State University and became a Licensed Professional Counselor.  Today, she still counsels children and adults at her Howard Street office.

Back in 1975, Dysinger discovered a book called “Psychocybernetics,” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.  With further research on Dr. Maltz, she became interested in

Secrets a program he developed to increase self-esteem in children. 

“I taught Secrets at the Findlay YMCA and had only planned on doing it for a few months.  As it turns out, I taught the program for 25 years!” she laughs.
Secrets fanned Dysinger’s interest in other programs for building self-esteem and it’s why Second Step is such a good fit for her.  She has found, however, that many people confuse building kids’ self-esteem with just  wanting them to feel good rather than helping them be responsible and
effective.

“Children become more confident when they actually have to accomplish things,” she adds.  “They need structure as well as nurture.”

What next?

Working with the Second Step program is one more way that Barbara Dysinger is giving back to the community. . . especially to its younger residents.  A mother and grandmother, she’s a member of the Findlay City Schools board of education and serves on the personnel and strategic planning committees.  She is a former Century Health and ADAMHS board member and was the second woman president of The Findlay Rotary Club.  Those who have had the privilege of working with her, hope that her involvement continues well into
the future.

For more information on The Committee for Children and the Second Step program, visit www.cfchildren.org.