April was #nationalcounselorsmonth, and we wanted to raise awareness about the range of care and services counselors provide by spotlighting some of the counselors who work with ConnectMed and impact so many – including our own CMI Program & Fundraising Coordinators Valeria Restrepo and Cashel Gaffey!
Valeria is a registered behavior technician, where she provides ABA therapy for children on the autism spectrum. She says about her experiences being a counselor: “Working as an RBT has been one of the most fulfilling jobs I have ever had. I am so grateful to be playing a pivotal role in helping guide and support these awesome kiddos in learning to live independent lives. Every kiddo is truly unique and has a different way of seeing the world, and being in the position that I am, I am honored to be a part of their journey of self-discovery and growth. It has also allowed me to become an even stronger advocate for these kiddos so that others can see past their differences and marvel at their uniqueness and create a sense.
Cashel is a social worker who has experience facilitating psychoeducational and psychoemotional group sessions primarily focused on stress and anger management, emotional awareness, and trauma recovery. She says, “To me, counseling with care means being in a position to provide mindful, empathetic, and compassionate guidance for those who need it. I counsel with care by remaining open to learning about and understanding how various cultures and lived experiences have impacted populations differently, while I simultaneously work to create a safe space for diverse conversations and dialogues to occur.”
Dana Howorth is the Program Director at Mustard Seed Ranch and is most generously leading a free camp in June for a small group of children with craniofacial differences. Dana is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in children and adolescents. A lifelong equestrian, she has shared her passion for horses with the young people she serves through Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). To her, #CounselingWithCare means: “creating an environment of compassion, empathy, and unconditional positive regard… I believe each of us can fulfill our potential, and I encourage my clients to actively “take the reins” during sessions as I act as a source of unconditional support.”
Dr. Azmaira Maker, a long-time board member, is a clinical psychologist at Aspiring Families Center for Mental Health and Wellness and a published author. She is also an essential member of our Camp Cosmos team, facilitating group discussions among parents and teens around topics from medical PTSD to bullying. “Counseling with care for me means…providing comprehensive, integrative and collaborative care with an individualized approach to support and empower people”.