Sober celebration

Three graduate from Family Treatment Court

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Family Treatment Court graduate Mandy Clark, at left, talks with Community and Family Resources Counselor Mary Berry after receiving her graduation certificate Friday afternoon

It was the largest graduating class in the history of Webster County Drug Treatment Court, according to Chief Judge Kurt Wilke, of the 2nd Judicial District.

On Friday, three participants in the volunteer court completed their treatment and are now moving on from the program.

Graduating from Family Treatment Court were Mandy Clarke, Sadie Linke and Tanner Rokes, all three of whom have battled substance abuse and who were in danger of losing custody of their children because of their addictions.

Now, all three are sober and ready to move on with their lives.

Rokes, who will celebrate a full year of sobriety on May 5, was unable to attend Friday’s graduation because he was home taking care of his sick child, but the other two graduates were celebrated with accolades, a certificate as well as cake and ice cream.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Family Treatment Court graduate Sadie Linke, right, gets a hug from Community and Family Resources Peer Support Specialist D’La Cox Friday afternoon following the graduation ceremony.

Clark, who has been sober for 378 days, called the feeling of finally graduating from the court “amazing.”

“I’m happy to have accomplished it, and I hope that I can be a great example for other people in the program,” she said.

Clark added that Family Treatment Court helped her in many ways.

“It helped me with accountability and to be a better mother,” she said.

The support she received in the program was critical to her success, and she said that will continue to help her as she moves on from Family Treatment Court.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Family Treatment Court graduate Mandy Clark, right, gets her graduation certificate from Chief District Court Judge Kurt Wilke Friday afternoon. Fellow graduate Sadie Linke, center, watches.

Clark added that she’s looking forward to returning to the court and using her experience to “help people that are just starting out in the program by being a parent partner.”

A parent partner is a mentor for those who are enrolled in the court.

Linke, who has been sober for 345 days, also plans to come back and help others in the program.

In fact, she’s already using what she’s learned in Family Treatment Court to be a mentor. She works in a treatment facility and is helping women at the YWCA with their own sobriety, some of whom, she said, are enrolled in Family Treatment Court.

She said part of what helped her was the team approach that Family Treatment Court uses.

“It’s been part of a team and a group that has helped hold me accountable,” she said, adding that the structure, discipline and order has helped keep her sober.

State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, observed the graduation as a guest, and said after the ceremony that he was impressed with what he saw.

“My wife and I and our family have been involved in foster care for 13 years, so we understand that part of the equation,” he said. “This is just exciting to see the growth and the taking responsibility of the people that are here, knowing that they want to get better, and the ability of our court system to put that type of impression on these young adults to help them get healthy.”

Kraayenbrink added he believes one of the most important parts of Family Treatment Court is the support system that’s in place.

“I think the biggest part, what I can see just in the short time I’ve been here, is the support group that they’ve developed,” he said. “If they’re at all thinking about using, I think they have a tremendous support group that they can lean on that will help them stay on the right side of the law.”

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