Amy Kamm of Rockport named United Way’s 2007 Unsung Hero.
Work with students in crisis in Gloucester & Beverly schools cited.
The board of the North Shore United Way has named Amy Kamm of Rockport its 2007 United Way Unsung Hero. The award will be presented at the United Way’s campaign celebration at the Hamilton-Wenham Community House on Thursday, April 26th.
Kamm, who holds a Masters of Social Work and is a licensed clinical social worker, is the Student Assistance Program counselor at Gloucester High School, a position she has held for two years.
Kamm devised the successful program, which has since been replicated with North Shore United Way community impact grants in Gloucester’s O’Maley Middle School, as well as Beverly High School and Briscoe Middle School. Kamm supervises those programs as well. The United Way focused on addressing youth substance abuse this past year, after identifying it as a top concern in its recent Report on Critical Community Needs facing the North Shore.
Kamm provides preventive, educational, counseling and referral services for youth, families, educators, law enforcement and human service providers in the Cape Ann community. She also intercedes with students facing a range of crises such as dating violence, substance abuse, eating disorders, family violence and depression requiring outside services. Kamm is an employee of Health and Education Services (HES), a United Way community partner agency.
According to North Shore United Way President Margo Casey, the United Way board was impressed by Kamm’s deep commitment to assisting youth, their families and school personnel, and for her tireless work to increase awareness of alcohol and drug problems among youth and access to services.
‘Amy Kamm works with the entire community to impact the environment to promote the well being of youth,’ said Casey. ‘It is a challenging time to grow up for young people, their parents and school personnel. Interventions need to be multi-faceted, flexible and quickly responsive to the needs of youth if we are to impact the scourge of youth substance abuse. Amy Kamm’s work embodies these principles.’
During a typical week, Kamm works with Gloucester High School Youth Leaders and other students on creative ways to present prevention messages. Recently, they hosted a school-wide multimedia assembly, which was produced by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Students described the assembly as the most powerful drug and alcohol presentation they had ever seen, according to Kamm.
Students who are in crisis may drop-in to Kamm’s office unexpectedly. During one recent week, Kamm intervened with a young female athlete who was suicidal; an honor student who was being abused by her boyfriend; a young man who wanted to run away to escape the chaos in his life; and a student with a severe eating disorder who had been referred by a teacher.
Kamm also facilitates support groups for students at risk, as well as the Students Against Destructive Decisions/Teen Leadership Council. The leadership council evolved from a grief group established by Kamm in 2005 to assist students who were coping with the untimely deaths of their friends.
Five young Gloucester people had stunned the community with their deaths ‘ two from drunk driving accidents, one from reckless driving and two from teen suicides. The grief group evolved into the Teen Leadership Council, which mobilizes the community with prevention presentations and dialogues about issues that impact youth.
Kamm and her husband Jim have three young children, Jameson age 8, Jaden age 6 and Alexa age 4.
Deborah Gardner Walker
Director of Public Relations
NORTH SHORE UNITED WAY
248 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA 01915
(978) 922-3966 Cell (978) 273-7538