Many students have asked for resources on crisis and trauma response. Two of our faculty, Casey Bario Minton and Melinda Gibbons in Counselor Education, created this list of counselor and mental health resources that provide information about mental health, crisis, and trauma for our counseling students. The sites provide a range of information on psychological first aid, daily coping, social distancing, and career search information, all related to our current crisis.
GOI Hosts Inaugural Camp Aliya
This was the inaugural year for Grief Outreach Initiative’s (GOI) Camp Aliya. The camp was named after the little girl who started it all – the child Dean Rider read to one year around Mother’s Day. Her mother had died, and Dean Rider was so struck by her and by the needs of children, especially in Title I schools who might need help with grief, but couldn’t access mental health services. This inspired him to create GOI in 2008. Laura Wheat, assistant professor, became the coordinator of GOI in 2014.
At Camp Aliya, children spent their time in small and large groups, outside, and being involved in music, arts, and crafts. Here are some of their activities:
- They constructed and guided each other through obstacle courses made of yarn, relating the difficulties of the course to the grieving process and discussing the role of others in helping you get through the process.
- Campers played sorting games to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful coping behaviors.
- They had the opportunity to depict their story of grief however they wanted. Some children wrote stories, other drew pictures, then if they were comfortable they shared them with the group.
- The children made body drawings in chalk to label different feelings they have related to their grief.
- Campers wrote down things they felt afraid to share on pieces of paper, crumbled them into balls, and threw them back and forth. They talked about what it was like for others to physically hold our fears and troubles. After they were comfortable, everyone anonymously opened one of the balled up fears to read allowed, and they found that many of the fears were similar, despite different stories.
Wheat ran Camp Aliya with 10 other staff members comprised who are current students, recent alumni, and/or community members. Wheat explained, “We intentionally kept the camp small and time-limited this year to make sure we knew what we were doing! I hope very much to secure grant funding to keep it going annually and expand from elementary-age kids to any school-age kid. I also hope that in the future we can develop and implement a trauma-focused therapeutic element as well, perhaps based on Allison Salloum’s work (Grief and Trauma in Children: An Evidence-Based Treatment Manual).”
“I am so thankful to be in a place that is supportive of programming that focuses on child and adolescent grief. It still feels a little bit magical to me, even four years later, that I get to do this work.”
When asked how it felt to to initiate and complete Camp Aliya, Wheat said the following: “It felt AMAZING!! It was a really daunting task, and it felt at times like climbing a mountain. But I was lucky to have Jillian Blueford, Counselor Education student, who was a huge help. She and I designed and implemented the whole thing together, so seeing it run those two days was incredible. We had the best, most energetic, creative, and heart-filled staff, and such great care from the folks at Pond Gap. I took some of the staff out for celebratory apps at Fieldhouse Social afterwards to thank them for their commitment and enthusiasm. However small it was with only 11 campers, I know we put some good in the world, and that’s what matters most to me. I could see some of the campers really benefiting. I even heard an anecdote via Jillian the other day, who reported that one of the campers’ caregivers had told her that he still wears the support bracelet he made at camp and talks about it all the time.”
EPC Alumnus Wins Teaching & Research Awards
Chad Luke, associate professor, won the Tennessee Technological University (TTU) Outstanding Faculty Award in Teaching and the College of Education Research and Creative Endeavors Award. Luke is an alumnus of the Counselor Education program and has been at TTU, in the Department of Counseling and Psychology, for six years.
“I’m grateful to receive these awards in the same semester (while also being awarded tenure!), as I think it could highlight the complimentary nature of teaching and scholarship.”
The TTU Outstanding Faculty Award in Teaching requires both faculty and student nominations. Luke was a finalist out of 800 nominations, and a committee selected him based on his portfolio submission. Their award announcement cited his humanistic approach to challenging students.
He said, “This particular award was a career goal of mine that I had kept to myself. To be recognized for my teaching at a place that is recognized historically as a teaching institution is quite sobering.”
The College of Education Research and Creative Endeavors Award requires a demonstrated active research agenda in publishing, producing, and performing. When asked what made his nomination for this award stand out, Luke explained that he teaches 11 courses a year, on average, so to also have about 20 publications, including refereed journals, book chapters, and a book, seemed to exceed expectations.
He said, “I am proud to receive this kind of recognition in a college that has so many faculty working so hard and achieving so much!”
Moralejo Wins CSI Leadership Fellow
Jennifer Moralejo, PhD candidate in Counselor Education, has been chosen as one of ten Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) Leadership Fellows. She is currently the social chair of Upsilon Theta, the CSI chapter at UT Knoxville. Moralejo also serves on the workshop committee and strategic planning committee.
“I am honored to represent Upsilon Theta through this opportunity. I look forward to meeting and collaborating with Chi Sigma Iota leadership and other selected fellows. Overall, I am excited for this opportunity and the upcoming year.”
Chi Sigma Iota is an international honor society that focuses on promoting academic and professional excellence in counseling. CSI was established in 1985 and was created for counselors-in-training, counselor educators, and professional counselors.
The CSI Leadership Fellows Program is a yearly award designed to cultivate and support graduate counseling students by developing their skills, network, and competencies as future counseling professionals in a changing, multicultural society. When asked what the application process was like Moralejo explained, “Faculty and peers were supportive. Part of this process required that I reflect upon my leadership philosophy and how being a fellow may further develop my ideas, skills, and experiences. It was an honor to even be considered for nomination and definitely surprising and exciting to be selected for the fellowship.”
Moralejo will be attending the American Counseling Association (ACA) Annual Conference and Expo in San Francisco, CA in March 2017. As CSI Leadership Fellow, she will provide a minimum of fifty service hours on a CSI task force/committee and one hundred hours on special projects, attend the CSI Leadership Training, attend CSI activities, receive a $600 grant from CSI, receive a $100 dollar grant from her nominating CSI chapter (Upsilon Theta), and be recognized at the CSI Awards Ceremony during the ACA Annual Conference and Expo.