Counselor highlights lifestyle choices

Sheri Byrd
Kaiserslautern American

Wes Orr, of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Service at Ramstein American High School, is showing students how to make more positive lifestyle choices.

In addition to individual counseling services, he speaks to students about the real life dangers of smoking, drugs and alcohol. He offers on-campus classes and support groups for behaviors such as smoking cessation, shoplifting, anger and stress.

“I see a lot of enthusiasm for these classes right now,” said Mr. Orr. “In fact, my current smoking cessation group has asked for an extension to the class, to provide them with the peer support they need all the way to the end of the school year. They are serious about quitting, and anything I can do to help them make it, I’ll do.”

To emphasize a lifestyle of positive choices, Mr. Orr founded the LIFE club, Life Information For Everyone. The club is active in the school community, promoting the Great American Smokeout among students, and providing a group where students know they can have fun among others who choose healthy living.

“I also offer information on all sorts of healthy living, so that the club members can be a source for the rest of the school,” said Mr. Orr. “Often peers are the first source for students when they seek information on drugs, alcohol and various health issues. If there is a well-informed group who can spread good information, that helps the whole school population. Other students know they can ask LIFE club members and get a real answer, not rumor.”

The LIFE club recently hosted a writing contest, asking fellow students to submit stories of the effects of a positive choice in their life, or a negative choice and what would be done differently next time.

From the submitted essays, five were chosen as the top entries. The writers received gift certificates from the base exchange and other prices.
The winning essays show the intensity of some of the stresses faced by high school students, Mr. Orr said.