By Peggy Purser Freeman
“Did you hear about the boy on Main Street? It’s so sad. Everyone saw the signs…but no one ever thought he would do such a sad thing.” It happens everyday across the country. A community crushed by deadly, permanent choices for temporary problems. A storm of emotions blow over the town as the news spreads and everyone ask why.
This could have been any teenager’s story, but this young man and his father chose a better outcome. After his parents’ divorce, this fifteen-year-old boy had a hard time adjusting and making good decisions. His dad saw his struggle and sought help. Together, they began meeting with a counselor and soon the teenager learned how to identify the emotions brought on by his parents’ divorce. After several months of working with their counselor, he and his father began communicating more clearly and their relationship grew stronger. The boy learned to make wise choices. Their renewed trust has transformed their father/son relationship.
This is just one of the stories at STARRY Counseling. There are many happy endings. But recently, happy endings came to a screeching halt when the storms of nature clashed violently with the storms of life. However, this is Stephenville, a community that acts out compassion everyday.
Mindy Spruill, Regional Director, remembers, “At the end of April 2015 a storm ravaged STARRY Counseling offices. The roof was ripped off of our building and as a result, everything inside was damaged and the space was completely unusable. We worried about how this would affect the children and families that we serve. Our landlord, Brian Haile, jumped into action and began the rebuilding process. However, due to the extensive damage, we knew that it would be several months before the work would be completed and we could return to our office. It was at that time that the community started reaching out to us.”
Mindy explained, her pride in the community reflected in her voice. “We were ‘blown away’ by the support we received. Compassion Counseling Center/Oakdale Methodist Church and Harvey Baptist Church provided us space so we could continue our services uninterrupted. Countless others, such as Lakeside Baptist Church of Granbury, Pecan Valley Centers and various community members donated office supplies and therapy items to aid us during the interim. We have now established a temporary office in Stephenville just steps away from our original office and have hopes to be back into our original office in the fall of 2015. Thanks to the dedication and support of our community, we were able to serve the members of the community during a very uncertain time for us. We couldn’t be more proud to call this community home.”
The STARRY Counseling Program provides counseling services to children, youth and families in 32 Texas counties. Programs include education and community outreach to minimize the risk of child abuse and neglect. Crisis intervention counseling helps resolve family crisis situations, and the parenting programs give parents tools to help their children grow and succeed.
STARRY’s Emergency Shelter provides short-term residential care to children who have been removed from their families because of abuse or neglect. In this safe environment, children receive the structure, supervision, solution-focused therapy, encouragement and the love they need to feel hopeful. Foster Care & Adoption extends 24-hour residential care to children needing to live temporarily or permanently apart from their family. Foster parents give children an opportunity to share life in a positive, nurturing, Christian family environment.
SAFE (Shelter Alternatives & Family Empowerment) provides a safe haven for homeless and runaway youth while working with their families. SAFE also helps the community with families, schools, and others to prevent kids from running away or becoming homeless.
STARRY program emphasizes prevention and family empowerment by supporting children, families and the community to make a difference for children. It is our belief that tough times don’t have to last forever. The care and assistance offered through STARRY helps dispel the darkness of conflict and offers a measure of hope that families can be restored.
Vicky Gonzalez, Counselor II, shared her heart: “What I love about working with STARRY is it gives me the opportunity to be a voice for kids that often have their voice not heard. It is incredibly rewarding when I can communicate their worth to them through the avenue of a counseling session or a camp. When working with kids and families, my goal is to intervene as early as possible to help lessen the stress of family conflict or discord.”
Janet Rollings, Counselor II, says, “STARRY gives me the opportunity to walk alongside the kids that I work with and empower them to find productive solutions to the problems they face. One of the most fulfilling things in working with kids and their families is to help them identify cycles and patterns that aren’t working for them and then create healthy alternatives that promote the family’s growth.”
Finding the light of hope in the darkest hours, STARRY’s goal continues to be a beacon of light for children, youth and families. In the midst of crisis, counselors nurture children, strengthens families and restores hope.
For more information about STARRY Couseling Services please call: 254-434-5232 or 877-279-7079 or visit www.starry.org.