Writing Samples

These articles are written by Drew Mitchell. All rights reserved.


The Mystique of Devils Tower

Driving along the prairie in northeastern Wyoming, a monolith appears in the distance. This large rock that juts from the ground is known as Devils Tower.

Devils Tower is a butte that rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. The area of its tear drop shaped top is 1.5 acres and the diameter of its base is 1000 feet. It is believed that Devils Tower began forming from molten magma about 60 million years ago.

A person’s familiarity with Devils Tower probably comes from only one source. It was a central structure in the 1977 science fiction film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” directed by Steven Spielberg. It has a greater significance than that.

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From Ordinary to Extraordinary – Leaders at Work

Stand-Out Employees are not Always Managers

When people enter management, they learn a great deal in a very short time. However, one part of the job that does not come automatically is becoming a leader. Line supervisors are expected to lead, but many times, one will find leaders in the rank and file as well. In fact, some managers need strong leaders among those they supervise for many reasons, including:

  • Managers are better able to focus attention on their own work.
  • Lead workers keep tasks flowing
  • It reduces the notion of interference from the supervisor (micromanagement)

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The Rescue of Molly

Molly was living at the Animal Shelter in Clinton, IA. It was the middle of March 2006. Instead of a cute, happy looking little dog one would find in a pet store, Molly was a sorry looking little thing. She was skinny, her coat was dull, her ears were crusty and for some reason, she only had a stub for a tail. Her teeth were rotting and she had a scar on her side from when she had been burned. She seemed scared to death. Here amongst all of these big, barking dogs was this poor, pathetic looking little “doxie,” obviously a miniature. Molly obviously needed good food, good grooming and a lot of love. She would soon get all of that and more. One look into those sad brown eyes and anyone would be hooked!

It was quite obvious that Molly had a long way to go before she would be well again. Molly had been a puppy mill dog. She had been rescued recently by a family, but for some reason, she had snapped at the family’s three year old child and the family turned her over to the animal shelter where Molly was now being kept. Puppy mills are horrible places. Their sole purpose is to breed dogs over and over again and to sell the puppies. The dogs are mistreated, kept in cramped cages and receive the minimum for food and water. They seldom if ever get good veterinary care and they are over-bred to the point that the “stock” that comes from the mothers is usually poor.

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Katrina Calls and Waterfalls

In the late summer of 2005, when many in the Southern United States were bracing for the impact of Hurricane Katrina, my wife and I were on a camping trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We were at Lake Gogebic, which is a beautiful area in the western section of the upper peninsula. We didn’t know that there was a hurricane preparing to cause havoc on the Gulf Coast. We were totally oblivious because the radio reception was awful at our camp site and we didn’t hear any news until we had been in Michigan for a couple of days.

When we heard about Katrina, we wondered if she was also playing games with the weather where we were. We had checked the forecast before we left and nothing like what we were experiencing was predicted. We were perplexed by what seemed to be an early onset of weather more typical of mid-autumn. It was downright cold some nights and the days were breezy, cool and, at times, rainy. True, we were several hundred miles north of home and the weather does turn colder more quickly in upper latitudes, but this was ridiculous. But we knew better than to whine – after all, we were still a long way from the actual hurricane and we knew others were less fortunate than we were. So we picked ourselves up and did what we could to make the best of things.

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Special Needs Children: Parents’ Rights when Dealing with Professionals

I began my career in the field of developmental disabilities in 1987. I started off at the very bottom working as a part-time aide in a residential school for children with profound mental retardation and behavior disorders. It was challenging work, but I truly loved it. In fact, I was so fascinated with the field that I continue to work in the field.

Over the past twenty-plus years, I have held many different positions serving a variety of consumers. I’ve been a teacher, a behavior specialist, a case manger and a day training center director. After being on hiatus working in case management and administrative positions, a few months ago I got back to working “in the trenches” within our local schools. It’s great to be back to my roots and no, I do not miss the “perks” of management. I do miss the paychecks that came with being one of the top dogs, but I have also learned that money isn’t everything and that the soap operas of office politics are not for me!

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What Does a QMRP Do? Better Yet: What is a QMRP?

QMRP stands for “Qualified Mental Retardation Professional. Essentially, the QMRP is an advocate for people with developmental disabilities.

Defining a QMRP

A QMRP provides services to meet the educational, social and/or emotional needs that affect the abilities of people with developmental disabilities. By doing so, the QMRP helps this person to achieve their highest level of function. The QMRP also participates in the development of comprehensive care plans for the people on their caseload. This includes medical care and such services as speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

Population Served

A developmental disability is a disability which is life-long, attributable to mental and/or physical impairments, and manifests prior to age 18. Examples include mental retardation, cerebral palsy and autism. For the purpose of this article, the focus will be primarily on mental retardation.

Mental retardation is characterized by below average intellectual functioning as well as deficits in adaptive behavior. These are the skills that many people take for granted in day to day life, such as self-help, speech/language and social interaction. Some people with developmental disabilities also have behavioral issues, so the QMRP is involved in coordinating behavior development programs with the assistance of psychologists and other professionals, which will assist the individual in becoming a productive member of society.

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The Use of Social Networking by Prospective Adoptive Parents

Social networking is a tool that was not an option for adoptive parents and birth mothers in the past. It is still an option that should be used with care.

Look around on the Internet and one will find a plethora of websites on so many diverse subjects. Adoption has joined that vast group. The Internet can be a complicated place, yet more and more people are using it thanks to the benefits it provides.

In the past few years, there has been tremendous growth in social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Additionally, easy-to-use templates have made it easy for web users to design their own personal websites. People can also set up a web presence or blog on sites such as WordPress and Blogger.

Why Use Social Networking When Adopting?

It’s no surprise that families waiting to be chosen by a birth mother are turning more often to different forms of communication to market themselves. People can look up families who are using the site and send messages to them about their experiences. The purpose of these pages is to make a connection, so finding a prospective adoptive parent who has a Facebook page that will respond is more likely than not.

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