National School Counseling Week

CounselorYesterday marked the first day of National School Counseling week (February 4–8, 2013). In anticipation of this weeklong event, I’ve been considering the question, “What makes student counseling services unique and valuable?” School Counselors endeavor to make an impact on student lives and act as change agents to affect positive outcomes. The unique service provided by Professional School Counselors is to critically examine a problem while focusing attention toward providing the most relevant options for families. The advice offered is valuable in that it leads all parties toward resolution.

Various students have contacted me over the years for assistance with academic advising, planning for college, dealing with peer pressure, or working through emotional concerns. One particular student comes to mind. I will call him Todd. I met Todd when he was a sophomore in high school. Todd would be the first in his family to graduate from high school. It was a long and sometimes emotional journey to motivate him to come to school on a daily basis. His family was homeless, and as the eldest of the family, Todd thought it was his responsibility to take on the role of financial provider. We had several conversations where we would exchange ideas about short- and long-term goals.

My role as a counselor was never to make decisions for Todd; rather, it was to ask questions that led him to the best possible option or solution. I am happy to say that he did complete high school while working part time.  He enrolled in Valencia Community College after graduation. The light bulb did eventually click in his head that short-term solutions are not always long-term solutions to poverty and stability. He decided that his motivation was to not only to attain an education but to also serve as an example to his younger siblings.

I could describe countless situations in which Professional School Counselors intervene and make an impact on students’ lives.  Like Todd, all of the examples depict a few common themes. School Counselors are an essential component of a school-wide team dedicated to service, commitment, and forward-moving goals.  During National School Counseling week, offer a kind, encouraging word to those who work every day to offer this unique and valuable service to our youth.

Post by: Aleke Sharpe, M.S., FLVS School Counselor (Guest Blogger)

One comment on “National School Counseling Week

  1. Betty Bobay

    I really appreciated your article. It is so true that we lead them to think about long term solutions. I recently wrote a behavior plan that in the short term probably seemed uncaring to a 9th grader who was calling home everyday to spend time with a boyfriend. Part of the plan was that she could no longer randomly come to Guidance office or front office (from where she would beg to call Dad to pick her up) unless she had spent a full day at school and came at end of the day. As a caring counselor this boundary was hard for me to set and I had to remind myself if I enable her to keep coming up to vent or call Dad she will dig a deep hole deeper by not having enough credits to graduate and decreasing the choices she has in life. Betty Bobay


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