Human Services: Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling
B.S., January 2009
Summa Cum Laude
Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship
John F. Kennedy, Jr. Fellowship
CUNY BA/BS Alumni Fund Scholarship
Charles Greene was born in Harlem in 1964, the youngest of 5 children. While he grew up with a strong sense of family and community and graduated high school with a Regent’s diploma, a place in the College Bound Program and election to the National Honor Society, the pressure he felt supporting his pregnant fiancée and the rest of his family since his father’s death led him to sell drugs for the fast money that could be made. In 1990, at the age of 25 and with three young children, he was arrested and sentenced to 25-to-life under the Rockefeller drug law.
Greene did his time in such a way that he “would be prepared to re-enter the world at the moment of my release.” At Sing Sing, he tutored with Literacy Volunteers of America. At other facilities where he was held he became an HIV/AIDS peer educator, a nurse’s aide, a facilitator in substance abuse programs and an assistant to the supervisor in the prison textile factory. He took courses through Clinton Community College, receiving an Associate of Arts degree in Humanities and Social Science with high honors. In 1995, when funding for prison college programs was cut, he continued to educate himself.
In 2004, the Rockefeller reform legislation came out and he successfully petitioned the court; the judge declared “Your change and transformation is genuine. I believe you and give you time served.” Upon his release, he got a job as a maintenance technician at Yeshiva University, enrolled in New York City College of Technology for 15 credits and decided he would choose a career working with youth in the field of HIV/AIDs.
In CUNY BA/BS, under the direction of Prof. Martin Garfinkle, Human Services, NYCCT, Greene constructed his area using courses in Human Services from NYCCT and Psychology and Sociology from John Jay College. In his senior year he completed a one year internship with the Brooklyn AIDS Task Force First Steps Program, a medically supervised substance abuse treatment program which gave him valuable hands-on experience assisting with intake counseling, group and individual counseling, and preparing reports to parole and probation officers.
Since September 2007, Greene has been working as a Program Coordinator/Case Manager at Claremont Neighborhood Centers, Inc. in the Bronx, in their Young Fathers Program. He says “Most of my clients are from 16 to 25 years and my primary goal is to foster and reinforce fathering behaviors in these young men, and to get them to become involved in the personal, social, emotional, spiritual and economic parts of their children’s lives. I accomplish this through individual and group counseling, case management and assisting these men with employment and educational services.” Upon earning the degree, Greene received a raise and a promotion. Prior to Claremont, he worked at the Doe Fund as a case manager, assisting homeless men reclaim their lives. Concurrently with full-time work, full-time school, and his internship, Greene completed the Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor in Training (CASAC-T) certificate, and applied to, and was accepted by, the Hunter School of Social Work, where he will begin his MSW degree in fall 2009.