SAVING FAMILIES AND IMPROVING LIVES

Outpatient Counseling Supported By United Way

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We believe that when adults and kids are mentally healthy, they are better able to learn, work and have a positive outlook for their future.  Your support of United Way of Jackson County makes outpatient counseling programs possible for individuals who would otherwise not have access.  Last year, 343 people in Jackson County received vital counseling due in large part to our partnership with Catholic Charities of Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale.  Here is just one of those stories.  Names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Sheila’s mom had been drinking…again.  It was always bad when her mom drank, but on this night it was far worse.  Sheila was 13 years old and didn’t know what life for a teenager was supposed to be like.  She had a father who was in and out of jail and a drunk mother she had to care for. On this particular night, Sheila’s mom attempted suicide. Sheila called 911 and watched as the ambulance carried her mom away.

The next day Sheila found the courage to confide in her school counselor. CPS removed Sheila from her home, placed her with her aunt and got Sheila into counseling with Catholic Charities.  For the first few sessions she would do nothing but cry, almost as if it was mourning the loss of her mom.  She then became angry, asking why her mom always chose alcohol over her.  During counseling she learned about alcohol addiction, she learned how to process her feelings, she began to understand how her mom’s addiction impacted her. The counseling chipped away her self-blame and guilt; beneath the layers was a bright, confident young woman who knew she deserved better.

Even though her living situation with her aunt was an improvement, Sheila still faced an unhealthy environment, with constant fighting and financial struggles within the family.  Sheila felt she was a burden.  The counselor and CPS working together were able to place Sheila with her cousin, where she fit right in.  It was a typical busy family with love and support.  For the first time in her life, Sheila had a real, nurturing home! 

Then came another challenge: Sheila’s new foster family had a new opportunity in another state, and Sheila’s mom protested. The counselor worked with Sheila and her mother.  With Sheila’s new confidence, she asked her mother to “please put my needs first.”

Through the course of several months, Sheila has learned to process her own situation, put value on her needs and start the healing from a lifetime of neglect.  She successfully discharged from the counseling program and, with her mother’s consent, has moved out of state with her new family.

This is one of hundreds success stories from this United Way funded outpatient counseling program, with100% of clients reporting improvement in one or more areas of life.  When you support United Way of Jackson County you are making an IMPACT and changing lives in Jackson.

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