WINTER 2008

Table of Contents

A Message from
the Chair

The "Counselor's Care" Fund

A Counselor Looks Back on Katrina

"Counselors Care Fund" Grant Assists New Orleans Charter School

Graduate Student Essay Competition Deadline

ACAF Director of Development Receives CFRE Recertification

Look for ACA Foundation at ACA '08 in Hawaii

ACAF Sponsored Newspaper Columns Continue To Grow

How To Donate!

 


Message from the Chair...

Greetings, and welcome to the Winter 2008 edition of the American Counseling Association Foundation's "Update" Newsletter.

Much of the focus of this newsletter is on New Orleans and for a very good reason.  The ACA Foundation was quick to react when that tragedy first struck. The devastation it brought afflicted thousands of people in the area, and affected numerous counselors in the area who found themselves without the means to offer needed help. That is when the "Counselor Care" Fund was first established. In this newsletter you will learn of some of the good things the Fund has been able to achieve.


 

 

 

Terri Lonowski
ACAF Chair
2007-2008

The ACAF Board of Trustees was privileged recently to be able to meet in New Orleans, to spend time with a number of counselors there, and to learn first hand not only about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina that is still afflicting that city, but of the help that the ACA Foundation has been able to provide through its "Counselors Care" Fund.

I hope I can share just a bit of the emotion that I experienced during this meeting and visit: "My heart tightens as I recount the ACAF Trustee's recent visit to New Orleans.

We were committed to learning first-hand, if the work of the Foundation was meaningful…and…still needed. A powerful "YES" to both, was our answer.


 

We spent time in areas most devastated by Katrina. A particularly vivid image is that of one of our host's family home, located in the 9th Ward (inside stripped to bare wood beams…sunlight seeping through the windows seemed to beckon a promise of new possibilities).

While at the same home, we walked to a shed in the back. Vines draped from the roof. Zarus E.P. Watson, Ph.D., L.P.C. of the University of New Orleans, looks up and in a moment of deep contemplation slowly, quietly, and deliberately utters, "Humm…the vines are green ~ even they show life ~ there is hope".

Countless FEMA trailers were planted throughout the areas. We learned of families working their regular jobs, going home to the trailer and then putting in many hours working to rebuild their homes. Exhausting!

On January 12th, Professor Barbara Herlihy, Ph.D., L.P.C. of the University of New Orleans (UNO) graciously opened her home and hosted a magnificent opportunity for us to listen intently to real life stories.  The event was steeped with candid feedback from recipients of the Counselors Care Fund.

We asked pointed questions such as:  How timely and helpful was ACAF financial support?  How easy was it to apply for a grant?  What else could have been done to assist in helping people emotionally recover?  Should ACAF have a standing disaster response fund?  What we learned was emotionally moving and affirming.

Professor Dawn M. Romano, PH.D., L.P.C. shared a story of how one of our grants was used to support an art therapy program entitled "City of Hope" conducted in the UNO Charter Schools. Not only were amazing works of art produced, a safe quiet environment provided space and time for students to unload feelings of fear, grief, and despair. She also gave us extraordinary glimpses into the "normal" of New Orleans children. Just imagine a school where most of your classmates have lost their homes and are living in a make-shift situation.

I had the distinct pleasure of personally delivering a check to a new grant recipient, Melissa Simon. This was just one of ten grants awarded in very recent months to our ACA members impacted by Katrina.

Kendall Williams, a doctoral student at UNO, who because of Hurricane Katrina, had to abandon his studies for two years and help his family. Only now is he picking up the pieces of his dream. His resilience is impressive, along with his ideas of research to capture important lessons from this disaster.

Although many counselors are "burned out" and overlook self-care as they continue to help the vast number in need, we can remember. As we implement a standing disaster response program, we need to be mindful that the symptoms of post traumatic stress affect both client and counselor.

My intent to listen deeply and soulfully was realized. As the evening was winding down, customary hugs were way beyond "customary". You know the type? "Connected"…without words the spirit of compassion had bridged a gap from one world to another offering assurance that "you are not alone".

We gained valuable insights into the affects of programs sponsored by the ACA Foundation, clearly enhancing our work at the Board Meeting. The contributions you make touch lives…real lives…in important ways. On behalf of all of those who benefit from your generosity…THANK YOU!"

                                              Sincerely,

                                              Terri Lonowski
                                              ACA Foundation Chair 2007-08