The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on September 29, 1996 · Page 16
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 16

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 29, 1996
Page 16
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B4 SUNDAY. SEPTEMBER 29, 1996 LIFE THE SALINA JOURNAL T GOOD HUMOR ENGAGEMENTS Scripps Howard News Service Steve DeClark, a family therapist at Lad Lake residentional treatment center in Dousman, Wis., also does stand-up comedy at places such as Comedy Cafe. Therapist packs punch line Former class clown uses humor to ease life's problems at residential center for boys By JOEL DRESANG The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MILWAUKEE — For Steve DeClark, making people laugh is therapy. Before a nearly full house recently at the Comedy Cafe in Milwaukee, DeClark poked fun at his receding hairline and prominently wagged some flab he grabbed from around his middle. "I looked like the fifth guy up on the evolutionary chart," he said, describing a profile of himself in a mirror. DeClark won the crowd over with his self-effacing humor, prompting knowing nods for his observations about the folly of trying to fool Mother Nature, especially where aging anatomies are concerned. He made light of the deceptive formalities of courting and noted how pretensions dissolve after marriage. "I bet you still have to hold in your (intestinal) gas," DeClark said to a man near the stage who said he's been dating the woman next to him for three months. As a class clown growing up in Greendale, Wis., DeClark dreamed of being a fabulously successful comedian. While in college, he had his own TV shows in Stevens Point and Eau Claire. During six years based in Los Angeles, he appeared on Comedy Central, earned a speaking role in a movie and worked comedy clubs from Arizona to Canada. Now, instead of climbing his way to the top as a comic, DeClark, 31, is dispensing his humor as a salve. In May, after completing a master's degree in social work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, DeClark changed his full-time gig from comedy to family therapy at Lad Lake, a residential center for boys in Dousman. Lad Lake provides schooling, counseling and treatment for an array of problems ranging from emotional illness and neglect to drug and alcohol abuse. In his work, DeClark uses humor to diagnose how troubled youths are, to let boys see past the misery of their situation and to help them creatively handle their problems. "Once you make a kid laugh, they really trust you more," DeClark says in the back yard of his townhouse on Milwaukee's south side. "A lot of these kids don't trust adults, they've had so many bad experiences. I do a little joke, and it keeps me tied to them, bonded more on their level." Recently, DeClark took a couple of boys from Lad Lake to lunch. When the restaurant hostess asked DeClark whether he wanted to be seated in smoking or no-smoking, DeClark shot a kiddingly accusing glance at one of the boys who had just been caught and punished for smoking. "I didn't have to say anything," DeClark recalls with a chuckle. "It was a lightheart- "A lot of these kids don't trust adults. They've had so many bad experiences. I do a little joke, and it keeps me tied to them, bonded more on their level." Steve DeClark Comedian and family therapist ed way to say, 'Hey, you got caught. You paid the consequences. But now let's move on.' " Comedy puts people of all ages at ease, DeClark says. And DeClark's style of humor is one that laughs in the face of adversity. "When you reframe a problem in a humorous way, sometimes you can't look at it the same way again. It almost doesn't bother you anymore," DeClark says. "What I tell people to do is find whatever your situation is and there's humor there." As an example, DeClark points to residents of Oakfield, who used laughter to help cope with the tornado that leveled many of their homes in July. He recalls seeing one news account of a woman referring to the rubble that once was her house and facetiously remarking that now her son could afford to buy it. "What a healthy way of expression and dealing with a horrible, horrible situation," DeClark says. Of course, resurrecting a flattened building is easier than reshaping a young life beaten down by abuse or neglect or drugs. "With these kids, there's too much pain to laugh it all away," DeClark says of the boys he works with. "But we do what we can, and again, a lot of the humor is just interacting with them, bonding with them so they trust you to open up." DeClark decided to become a family therapist a couple of years ago, during his frequent long trips between comedy clubs. "Basically, I saw a lot of comedians having alcohol problems, drug problems, marital problems," DeClark says. "I didn't want that kind of life." Watching his colleagues come unhinged was a stark contrast to what DeClark saw when he went to volunteer at a group home for abused kids in Los Angeles County. His first sight at the home was a young man — a man DeClark says reminded him of himself— calmly rocking a baby, looking up and welcoming DeClark with a smile. "I saw something so unselfish," DeClark recalls. "By the smile he gave me, I knew this was a content, happy person. I was just so moved by that single moment that I was hooked." DeClark's volunteer work turned into a part-time job, which led to a full-time position and his return to the Milwaukee area to finish school and start a new career. Corporate Comedy for business groups DeClark still packs a punch line, though. Besides appearing at comedy clubs in Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago, he has started a business he calls Corporate Comedy, through which he has performed routines for business groups. He also has presented in-services about the power of humor for school social workers and hospital employees. "There's just something about humor that tells someone you care about them," DeClark says. "If you want to try to make them laugh, it makes you vulnerable. It makes us on the same level. People are equal. We've all got problems. That's why I like humor. It's a way to bond with another individual." MAURE WEIGH Auto - Home Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron fcjdCCESS/k U^n systems V_A Specials on all | Hair & Nail Services *• Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I Gift Certificates Available Hours Mon.-Fri. 8:30-4:30 closed Sat • Convenient Drive Up Window • Delivery Service • Prescriptions • Convalescent Aids -A: $ 913-827-4455 601E, Iron Salina HOME HEALTH CARE B&K Mark Stehno Carrie Aspegren Aspegren-Stehno COURTLAND — Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Aspegren announce the engagement of their daughter, Carrie Sue, to Mark Stehno, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Stehno of Munden. The bride-to-be graduated from Pike Valley High School and received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Kansas State University. She teaches first grade at Wakefield Elementary, Turlock, Calif. Her future groom, a graduate of Belleville High School, received a bachelor's degree in feed science management from K-State. He is a supervising feed mill manager for Foster Farms Inc. at Ceres, Calif. The couple plan to exchange wedding vows at 4 p.m. Dec. 28 at the Amana Lutheran Church in Scandia. Lee Wilbur Lori Hermes Hermes-Wilbur Salinans Norbert and Marlene Hermes, 3348 N. Muir Road, announce the engagement of their daughter, Lori Marie, to Lee Garett Wilbur, son of Robert and Phyllis Wilbur, 2330 Melrose. The future bride graduated from Sacred Heart High School, received a bachelor's degree in life science from Kansas State University and is working toward a master's degree in physical therapy from Rockhurst College, Kansas City, Mo. Her fiance, a graduate of Salina Central High School, received a bachelor's degree in nutrition science from K-State. He now attends the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Their wedding is scheduled for 5 p.m. Dec. 27 at the St. Mary, Queen of the Universe Catholic Church in Salina. Melissa Denning Chad Desbien Denning-Desbien GOODLAND — Kenneth A.and Juanita Denning announce the approaching marriage of their daughter, Melissa Kay, to Chad Eugene Desbien, son of Stanly and Judy Desbien of Hill City. The bride-elect graduated from Goodland High School and North Central Kansas Area Vocational- Technical School, Hays. She works for Classic Cable in Plainville. Her fiance, a graduate of Hill City High School, completed the auto mechanics program at Northwest Kansas Technical School, Goodland. He works at Schult in Plainville. An Oct. 12 wedding is planned in Goodland. Christopher Wendt Shawna Smith Smith-Wendt Salinans Harry and Pam Smith and Pat and Connie Hamilton of Norman, Okla., announce the engagement of their daughter, Shawna Marie Smith, to Christo- • pher Wendt, son of Teven and Sandy Wendt of Russell. The bride-to-be graduated from Southeast of Saline High School, Gypsum, attended Kansas State University and is a student in the University of Kansas Medical Center's occupational therapy program. Her fiance, a graduate of Russell High School, is a December candidate for graduation from K- State. He is student teaching in the Kansas City metro area. Their wedding is set for 2 p.m. Jan. 4 at the Christ Episcopal Cathedral in Salina. Attention, brides-to- bel Here's how the -Life Department of the Journal can handle your engagement and wedding reports more efficiently. Forms are available at the office, 333 S. Fourth, that detail all information the staff needs to write the announcement. Type or print information, as errors are prevalent when handwriting is difficult to read. Use rank for all servicemen in the wedding party. If a photo does not accompany the form, but is to follow, please indicate this on the form. Call 1-800-827-6363 or 913-8236363 to request a form. Photos are returned by mail. Troy Hurlbut Tami Price Price-Hurlbut ELLSWORTH — Tami Lynette Price and Troy Lynn Hurlbut announce their approaching marriage. ; Parents of the couple are Sandra Morrison of Leavenworth, Ronny Price of Holdenville, Okla., and Gary and Nancy Hurlbut of Sylvan Grove. The future bride graduated from Ellsworth High School and attended Fort Hays State University. She is a group manager at Alco in Ellsworth. Her fiance, a graduate of Syl- ; van Grove High School, received ; a bachelor's degree in fisheries . • and wildlife biology from Fort • '. Hays State. He is a corrections of-' fleer at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. The Wilson Lake Chapel is be the setting for their 5 p.m. wedding Oct. 5. T MARRIAGE : . Many career women eager to say 'I do' By The Associated Press Well-educated, career-minded women in their 20s are increasing: ly eager to become brides. ; Today, for the first time since the mid-1960s, Lois Smith Brady wrote in an article in the current issue of Redbook, smart young women want to wed. Although official Census Bureau statistics continue to show a rise in marriage age among Americans overt all, people who toil in the marriage field, from sociologists, tp wedding planners, tell a different story about young women. ;' "There is a type of person whb;a little while ago may have waifedi but who's feeling secure enough about her future to tinker with marriage earlier rather than later," said Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology."Some of them have also said, 'I don't want to;be 35 and worried about fertility complications before I have my first kid.' "My generation was scared silly that if they got married and had children, they'd have to give.up their careers. This generation thinks they can do it all at once." Brides enter their relationships less naive than wives before them, often going to marriage counselors even before the marriage has officially begun. "There's a real strong feeling that they should have egalitarian marriages with better communications, a high level of intimacy, and shared responsibilities and burdens," said Ross Goldstein', president of Generation Insight$ in San Francisco, a marketing consultation firm. "They're not taking a headlong dive into never- never land." We want Quitters! Salina Regional Health Center will offer the SMOKELESS class, for people who really want to quit, but haven't been able to do it alone. SMOKELESS helps you manage stress, eat right, identify smoking "triggers" and learn how to live without cigarettes. The course will be taught by Laurie Pitts, RN, Health Promotions Coordinator, in three phases. I A free, introductory meetina. Y< find out all aboul quilling on ()elobei : 7:00 p.m., I'enn Campus Boardroom. 2. 'lYeatinent. You'll learn leclini(|ues help you quit for good during four evenings, ()elobei 7 to 10, 7:00 p.m., I* Campus Boardroom. .'5. Maintenance. You and your groin Fee: $60/$54 for Partners, Advantage and Care Link members. To reserve your spot, or for more information, call the Marketing Department, 452-7601. HIIIV 10 ee sessions, ill I'rM ill Salina Regional Health Center

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