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Message from the Past Chair
By Terri Lonowski
"To everything there is a season,
Although it wise and noble to "do good deeds in secret", at times it is even more important to tastefully share the news. By doing so, it is our hope to exponentially increase the number benefiting from ACA Foundation programs. We are paying attention to the reality that some ACA members are not fully aware of the work of the Foundation. In this light, the ACAF Trustees expressed a goal ofIncreasing Awareness of The Foundation, by creating a robust presence at the ACA annual conference in Charlotte. If you were able to attend, you may have joined in any number of sponsored activities including:
We were thrilled to offer an opportunity for a conversational exchange with Dr. Adolfo Bermeo. After his riveting keynote address, nearly 100 attendees joined in an informal and powerful opportunity for probing questions regarding tough Social Justice issues. While this was the first time we had hosted such an event, the positive feedback was overwhelming and discussions are already underway to subsidize a comparable occasion next year.
Dr. Courtland Lee (and several of his doctorial students), along with Trustee Terri Lonowski joined Bermeo at the Presidential Featured Reflections on Access, Equity, and Social Justice: A Conversation with Adolfo Bermeo
From the beginning The ACA Foundation commitment to students in graduate counseling programs has remained solid. Presently this includes underwriting scholarships to the ACA Annual Conference, funding the graduate student lounge and the ACAF Graduate Student Essay contest. A recent award winner of the essay contest had the following to say:
"I am very glad I took the opportunity to write the essay for many reasons. The publicity from the publication opened doors for me in my future counseling career. Not only is it a line on my vita, but I am able to highlight the award in cover letters for job applications. In addition, I was contacted by a doctoral school and invited to apply to their world-renowned program in counseling. Most importantly, taking the time to learn about the issues facing the counseling profession in the next decade challenged me to confront and think critically about an issue that has become very important to me. Because of the work I did on that essay, I will remain a strong advocate for the counseling profession for many years. I look forward to helping move our profession through some of the challenges ahead."
Dr. Courtland Lee's lively exchange with recipients of the ACAF Graduate Student Grant Awards for many was a highlight. Both Lee and Dr. Sam Gladding contributed signed copies of their latest books for the event.
Pictured are some of the deserving graduate students, provided scholarships enabling them to attend the ACA Annual Conference.
One very important and popular initiative of the Foundation is the Growing Happy Confident Kids program, which provides books to ACA members, who work with elementary-aged children to address issues of self-esteem, understanding of emotions, coping strategies, and awareness and understanding of diversity. In recent times participation has more than tripled to nearly 200 locations, including 14 wait-listed requests which were able to be honored at the beginning of our new fiscal year. All of this has become a reality, through strong ACA Member's financial backing.
Last year's ACA President, Dr. Colleen Logan, was so supportive that she devoted a prime-time Presidential Featured 90 Minute Session: Growing Happy and Confident Kids Program: Making a Difference in the Field to showcase the program and its participants. University of Maryland doctorial student, Jessica Diaz, and ACA Trustee, Terri Lonowski, then teamed up to offer a multi-media account of real-life stories. Several counselors who received books from the program touched everybody with emotional testimonies and moving examples of powerful and creative use of these resources. Over seventy counselors in attendance left with an array of field tested options for incorporating bibliotherapy in their own professional settings.
We know the program works as shared in this response:
"I used the first of the books with a 4th grade girl. Her teacher referred her to me because she reported to the teacher that the class is "full of bullies." This shocked the teacher. The teacher reported to me that the girl is a new student who tries to avoid class. I selected the book My Secret Bully since it seemed the bullying was not obvious to the teacher. The book helped the student open up and talk about feeling like the students were bullying her by leaving her out. I know this is a form of bullying. We were able to discuss examples of when this happened to her. Using the ideas in the book, we role played how she could respond. After using the book My Secret Bully, she willingly returned to her class with more confidence in herself. When I saw her in the hallway today, she had a smile."
If you read our winter 2008 edition of the newsletter, you'll remember that we reported on The Counselors Care Fund. This fund was designed to respond to counselors affected by natural disasters. It has provided approximately $30,000 in grants since its inception, after the Katrina and Rita hurricanes in 2005. Four new grants awarded this year bring the total number to 66. The scope of this program has shifted to become a sustaining mechanism for funding response to future disasters. Please be on the look out for more details in an upcoming article.
One of the Counselors Care Fund recipient said:
"I feel like I won a prize and I guess I really have!!!! I am so excited. Once again I cannot thank you enough. I feel like Publisher's Clearing house has shown up at my door! I am so excited that I will be able to replace some of those games. You just can't imagine!!"
ACA Foundation Second Century Challenge Recognition Reception
These are a few of our stories and programs ~ of course, there are many more. It's with heartfelt gratitude Trustees of the ACA Foundation celebrate the impact that you continue to make, through your unwavering generous donations. Our pledge to you is to keep the good work of the Foundation highlighted and shared in meaningful ways and on a consistent basis. To that end, please look for a quarterly article in Counseling Today as well as check in to our website (www.acafoundation.org) for updates and stories of how your generous contributions are making a difference.