Some people’s achievements earn them a statue or a building being named after them, but Karla Wohlwend, director of personnel and special services for Havre Public Schools, recently became the namesake for the Altacare program’s entire north-central Montana region, from Cut Bank to Harlem.
“I’m just deeply pleased to have my name associated with this program, ” Wohlwend said. “Your work makes things happen for families. ”
Wohlwend became involved with Altacare almost 12 years ago to help bring mental health services to the students of Havre who she felt could really benefit.
The program grew on the Hi-Line, from one at Havre Middle School then to seven in Havre schools alone, with other programs being set up in Harlem, Rocky Boy, Shelby, Browning and Cut Bank.
The programs’ staffs consist of one licensed mental health provider and one associate, working with school staff, students and families in “assisting students with being able to cope in the classroom setting, ” Wohlwend said.
“It’s pretty inclusive, providing students what they need. ”
At last Tuesday’s school board meeting, Rocky Boy received an award from Wohlwend as the most outstanding program in the district that now bears her name.
Altacare Director Dave Bennetts said that he had worked with Wohlwend for almost 20 years, before they worked together through Altacare 12 years ago.
He said that, back then, mental health services in the region were few and had difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff. Through the partnership between for-profit Altacare and the school districts, Bennetts said, the program has been able to help students with the kind of comprehensive care that would not otherwise be feasible.
According to Wohlwend, the school’s counselling staff is not able to handle the breadth of challenges the districts face today, and the counsellors “would be the first to tell us. ”
“This is the next level of care, ” Wohlwend said. “For some of our students, if we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t be able to give as much attention to them as individuals. It wouldn’t be as possible to work with families. We wouldn’t have the opportunity to have the summer programming for these students.
“Without it I think kids would be under served. ”
Wohlwend had a number of reactions when she heard the news from Bennetts, though mostly she was glad she was able to help students.
“I was honored, ” Wohlwend said. “I was humbled, but yet very proud because I believe it was something I helped bring to Havre. I thought it was nice to be recognized for that effort. ”