Lives are being imPACTed.
Wesley-Rankin Community Center
“The Center has exceptional people on staff. We couldn’t do our mission without the services provided by The Center,” said Natalie Breen, Director of Children’s Education at Wesley-Rankin. “They understand the context of what we’re dealing with here. We have parents who are working all day and night, victims of eviction, illness, incarceration, and loving, hard-working families who need extra support. We work to empower families and help them take back control. The Center augments that so well and has helped our kids with conflict resolution and responsibility. They have taught us ways to individualize learning and address the whole child in an individual way.
“Schools don’t have time to address mental health issues and we’re lucky to address it here. If a child is not able to self-regulate, academics can only go so far. In the past, we saw kids getting in trouble at school, always getting in trouble here, and then going home frustrated and upset. Now, students are able to go home and spend family time and have a positive evening, because they don’t have to deal with issues related to school and homework.
“The Center’s counselor (Bess Reynolds, LPC) emphasizes family counseling, family groups, mother-daughter, and sibling experiences. We’re so grateful for her time spent with the Gomez sisters (name changed) grades 4, 5 and 7. The Center began working with these girls three years ago when we learned their mom was fighting Lupus. Initially, we were treating them similarly, but they were acting out so differently – one hid, one punched, one internalized. Bess was able to address them with different strategies.
“Sadly, their mom passed away and it was incredibly hard. Bess supported the Wesley-Rankin staff, the grandmother and the three daughters. I don’t know how any of us would have walked through that without The Center. Ironically, the Gomez family was the first family to receive counseling three years ago and it has come full circle. The girls and the grandmother are doing really well. They have a positive future because they were able to process well, grieve together and heal. We see how important this work is and how it all connects.”
Trinity River Mission
“As a nonprofit, we’re under-resourced, under-staffed and under-supplied,” shared Jazmine Lewis, Chief Programs & Operations Director for Trinity River Mission. “But we’re always going the extra mile for our families. Having professionals who are trained in counseling – an area we don’t have expertise in – is huge. They catch things we wouldn’t catch. We wish we could increase our hours with The Center. Our families need it and our staff needs it. Just their presence in our offices has changed the way our staff think about certain situations, how we address them and how we process. Now we practice things such as mindfulness with our team.
“The Center is an advocate for our kids and families and a great partner to us. There was a complicated situation that involved CPS and Bess (Reynolds) was able to go deeper and pull back layers through individual and family counseling. The communication with the family is a lot better and our team is able to work with them with confidence.
“We have a young girl whose school was convinced she was on the autism spectrum. There was a language and educational barrier for the mom who wasn’t equipped to advocate for her child and the school didn’t take her seriously. Bess was able to arrange testing with Dr. Marisol De Jesús-Pérez, from The Center who confirmed a different diagnosis. With speech therapy and changes in her afterschool work, the girl is doing well and didn’t have to endure the struggle of a wrong diagnosis and the school didn’t waste autism resources on a student who didn’t have autism. We believe if you can name it, you can tame it.”
As illustrated, this grant allows The Center to strengthen the work of our PACT partners and continue our important work in West Dallas. We’re able to further our mission to deliver high quality, accessible counseling, training, psychological evaluations, and educational testing to children and families who would otherwise not receive these life-changing services. Our vision is that through accessible counseling, assessments, and training, people across communities can be self-aware, mindful, and resilient to reach potential of who they were created to be – to be healthy and whole.