Youth First Social Worker: Vicki Kirkman

About Vicki Kirkman:

About Youth First:

Youth First exists to transform and strengthen the lives of young people and their families through evidence-based programs that promote healthy behaviors, prevent substance abuse, and maximize student success.

Youth First Social Workers work with students individually and in groups, free of charge. Common reasons students see the Youth First Social Worker include depression, anxiety, anger management, academic issues, divorce and grief adjustment, family problems, substance abuse, and suicide prevention.

Youth First Social Workers also often give classroom presentations at school. Presentation topics vary according to what is needed but may include peer pressure, dating, bullying, friendship issues, family relationships, etc.

Check out Youth First website to learn more about other programs and upcoming events!

How can Mrs. Kirkman help you?

Stressed out about the growing pile of homework, tests and your grades?

Need someone to talk to about issues with your friends and family?

Are you, a friend, or a family member experiencing problems with drugs or alcohol use?

Having trouble concentrating, feeling happy, or managing your emotions?

Looking for someone who will listen and support you?

Come see me in the main office! I can provide counseling and referrals to community resources. I also have educational information in the areas of mental health. substance abuse. healthy relationships, and academic success. I can work with students individually, in small groups or classrooms and with your family.

I am available at Gibson Southern High School Monday through Friday during regular school hours.


A note to parents...

Even though your child has reached high school, your presence is needed more than ever! Schedule time in your busy day to communicate and touch base with your teen. Talk to your teen about expectations, rules and family values. Create an atmosphere that allows your teen to ask questions and share his or her thoughts with you. Try to spend time together on a regular basis. Studies show that kids whose families eat together 6 times a week or more are less likely to be involved with drugs or alcohol. Remember, there are many great community resources available if you need assistance! More information.


Signs that Your Student Might be Using.

Parents often don't know that their children use drugs or alcohol because they don't want to know. Subconsciously, they think that if they ignore the signs, the problem will go away. More often than not, though, the problem doesn't go away. It only gets worse.
Whether they want to or not, parents and teachers need to watch for the following signs that the American Council for Drug Education says are commonly exhibited by youth who use alcohol and other drugs.
But remember: the key is to watch for changes in the child's physical appearance, personality, attitude or behavior.

Physical Signs

Loss of appetite, increase in appetite, any changes in eating habits, unexplained weight loss or gain. Slowed or staggering walk; poor physical coordination. 
Inability to sleep, awake at unusual times, unusual laziness.
Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or small than usual; blank stare.
Cold, sweaty palms; shaking hands.
Puffy face, blushing or paleness.
Smell of substance on breath, body, or clothes.
Extreme hyperactivity; excessive talkativeness. Runny nose; hacking cough.
Needle marks on lower arms, legs, or bottom of feet.
Nausea, vomiting, or excessive sweating.
Tremors or shakes of hands, feet, or head.
Irregular heartbeat.
Behavioral Signs
Change in overall attitude/personality with no other identifiable cause.
Changes in friends; new hangouts; sudden avoidance of old crowd; doesn't want to talk about new friends; friends are known drug users.
Change in activities or hobbies.
Drop in grades at school or performance at work; skips school or is late for school.
Change in habits at home; loss of interest in family and family activities.
Difficulty in paying attention; forgetfulness.
General lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, "I don't care" attitude.
Sudden oversensitivity, temper tantrums, or resentful behavior.
Moodiness, irritability, or nervousness.
Silliness or giddiness.
Excessive need for privacy; unreachable.
Secretive or suspicious behavior.
Car accidents.
Chronic dishonesty.
Unexplained need for money, stealing money or items.
Change in personal grooming habits.
Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Drug Specific Signs
Marijuana: Glassy, red eyes; loud talking and inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness, a sweet burnt scent; loss of interest, motivation; weight gain or loss.
Tobacco/Nicotine: Smell of tobacco; stained finger or teeth.
Alcohol: Clumsiness, difficulty walking, slurred speech; sleepiness; poor judgment; dilated pupils; possession of a false ID card.
Depressants: (including barbiturates and tranquilizers) Seems drunk as if from alcohol but without the associated odor of alcohol; difficulty concentrating; clumsiness; poor judgment; slurred speech; sleepiness; and contracted pupils.
Stimulants: Hyperactivity; euphoria; irritability; anxiety; excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times; may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping; dilated pupils; weight loss; dry mouth and nose.
Inhalants: (Glues, aerosols, and vapors) Watery eyes; impaired vision; memory and thought; secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth; headaches and nausea; appearance of intoxication; drowsiness; poor muscle control; changes in appetite; anxiety; an unusual number of spray cans in the trash.