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Barry Rud was honoured for his years of work as AFM counselor for PLPSD

Recognized for years of work with youth in Portage

By Aaron Wilgosh, The Graphic

Barry Rud (left) receiving a small gift from PLPSD Superintendent Todd Cuddington (Right) at Tuesday's school board meeting in Portage. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

Barry Rud (left) receiving a small gift from PLPSD Superintendent Todd Cuddington (Right) at Tuesday's school board meeting in Portage. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)

Twenty-five years of important work with youth is very rewarding.

Barry Rud of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) was honoured for everything he’s done for the Portage la Prairie School Division (PLPSD), and its students, at Tuesday’s school board meeting in Portage.

“Portage was one of the original nine schools in the province, rural and northern, for a drug awareness strategy and I was the counselor that started in Portage,” says Rud. “It put counselors right in the schools to provide support and assistance to young people who were either dealing with addictions or living with addictions through someone in their family.

It was Rud’s job to provide basic drug and alcohol information to young people which in turn would help them make better decisions. He mainly worked with Grade 7 and 8 students and received a lot of help from counselors, teachers, and RCMP officers along the way.

“Back then I would’ve been known as the AFM Counselor,” says Rud. “I would work halftime in our community office and halftime in the schools. Now I’m casually working with AFM in Winnipeg because I retired earlier in the year.”

Rud feels it was great for the kids to be able to find support without having the barriers that adults face, and the counselors were lucky because they’d meet with youth that they normally wouldn’t see because of the access the school allows them to have.

“Some of the drug situations are different but the issues are always the same. We’re dealing with people experimenting, and in some cases, using it in deeper ways to manage other things like stress, pain, or sadness,” he adds. “It’s important we don’t rest, we don’t give up, and we continue to provide those services to kids when they’re young and trying to find their way.”

There are still two AFM counselors working across the division. Brenda Miller Adams works at PCI with Grades 9 through 12 and Betty Ryzner-Madsen looks after the Grade 7 and 8s. Together, along with support from the new RCMP School Liaison Officer, work is being done to better provide students with knowledge of addiction.


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