Student Stories: Claudia Orozco

Claudia Orozco

Major: Human Services

Claudia Orozco came to the U.S. to seek a better future and opportunities for herself and her children.

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“I know that there is a lot of trauma in our communities, and for some of them the support is not available or affordable,” she said. “I learned a lot living here, and I would like to help others in similar situations.”

As a student at College of DuPage, Orozco is gaining the education to do so. She is pursuing the Recovery Support Specialist certificate through the Human Services program to become a Certified Recovery Support Specialist. The CRSS program, supported by a grant through the Illinois Department of Human Services, includes both classroom work and an internship for students who have personal experience with addition or mental health recovery and want to work in a treatment environment.

She also is interested in pursuing the Addictions Counselor certificate. Thanks to her professors, Orozco is receiving the preparation she needs to succeed.

“The professors are very involved and invested in you,” she said. “They understand trauma and the challenges of co-occurring disorders that affect our communities. I am nervous but feeling prepared to start my first recovery group.”

In her quest to provide comfort to others, Orozco begin a nonprofit organization that uses animals for therapy.

The professors are very involved and invested in you.

Claudia Orozco

“Healing Pups was born after I lost my son to a drug overdose,” she said. “My pets noticed my sadness and started to give me extra attention and love every time I cried. I knew that I couldn’t be at home thinking about my son, and I needed to share all that love with others. This is why I started to offer services at no cost to places that helped us when my son was here.”

So far, Orozco has provided programs at Libraries for Literacy, Seaspar Special Recreation Center and Central DuPage Hospital.

“We offer drooling, unconditional love to the patients in the chemical dependency recovery program without asking for income guidelines,” she said. “This is for everyone.”

Her goal is to incorporate the credentials she earns into her nonprofit, offering professional services while remaining up-to-date with trauma-informed care.

Orozco’s advice for students considering the Human Services program is to stop thinking about it and take action to enroll.

“Invest in you because the time is now,” she said. “I spent 50 years thinking I was a mediocre student, not particularly academic and too busy with life. But life doesn’t stop being busy no matter what. Now I discovered I am a ‘B’ student, and I make time for a couple of online classes because there is always time for education. Do not wait until you are 50 when all your bones hurt! COD makes it easy, fun and accessible.”

Learn more about the Human Services program at College of DuPage