The Non-Profit Toolbox does blog posts about member organization”s events and happenings.
We often just take the information from press releases they send out or from emailing that we get from the groups, so if you are a member organization, le
t us know what is happening, send us some photos. Along with the blog post, we also tweet the information out for you and put it on our Facebook page, so even if you don”t have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, your information is getting out there.
Here is the latest from Interfaith Social Services:
New Directions Counseling Center to offer service for the visually impaired
Interfaith Social Services’ New Directions Counseling Center to offer loss of vision counseling
for individuals facing the drastic life changes that accompany blindness. Interfaith’s counseling center is a resource for the thousands of South Shore residents without health insurance, or those who lack adequate coverage.
Quincy, MA – November 1, 2011 – How would you cope with the diagnosis that you are going blind? What kind of support might your loved ones need? Interfaith Social Services’ new loss of vision counseling is a resource for individuals facing this life changing situation. This program combines individual counseling and small professionally facilitated discussion groups to help individuals cope with this challenging situation. Since 1947 Interfaith’s New Directions Counseling Center has been serving Greater Boston residents who are dealing with a myriad of life issues. Counselors always need to compassionately assist their clients. However the counselor who will facilitate the new loss of vision program, Kerry MacDonald, is especially prepared to help her patients because she herself is blind. Kerry lives with her family in Weymouth. In addition to completing her education as a licensed social worker, she and her husband are raising two young children. She has experience facilitating groups for individuals coping with vision loss, as well as experience counseling individual clients. Claire Hagan, Interfaith Social Services’ Counseling Coordinator, commented about Kerry, “She truly understands the experience of a blind person learning to function in a sighted world.”
The loss of vision counseling is part of Interfaith’s New Directions Counseling Center. New Directions was one of the first programs created when Interfaith Social Services was founded in 1947. In addition to their normal case load of clients with health insurance, a special program within New Directions provides mental health counseling to low-income people without health insurance, or those who lack adequate coverage.
According to a study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts, upwards of 130,000 people throughout the state remain uninsured even though residents of Massachusetts are required by law to carry health insurance. More than 75 percent of those uninsured have incomes less than 3 times the federal poverty level.
Rick Doane, Interfaith’s Executive Director, said, “Our Counseling Center is a safety net for many individuals without insurance, or without adequate coverage, who would otherwise fall through the cracks. We try to get people the help they need, when they need it.” Claire Hagan Interfaith’s counseling coordinator said, “Our goal is to return phone calls within 24 hours and to schedule the first appointment within a week. We often schedule within a day or two.”
The New Directions Counseling Center is only one of the programs that Interfaith Social Services offers to the community. They also have a food pantry, career closet and homelessness prevention program. Interfaith views counseling as a principal component in their strategy to help people break the cycle of poverty. Research supports this idea. A study by Christopher Hudson, Professor and Chairperson of the School of Social Work at Salem State University released a study which showed that mental illness is three times as prevalent in low-income communities as in higher income ones.
The link between childhood mental illness and poverty is particularly disturbing. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 21% of low-income children aged 6 to 17 have mental health problems, and 57% of those with mental health problems come from households living at or below the federal poverty level.
The caseload of ISS’ New Directions Counseling Center is growing, partly as a result of the current economic uncertainty. Claire Hagan
noted, “More families are slipping into low-income status, seeking counseling, and increasingly rely on our sliding fee scale. In the past two years we have had to set up three additional counseling offices to handle the demand for our services.”
The services of the New Directions counseling center are not limited to the impoverished and those in need. In addition their income based sliding fee payment scale the center accepts various forms of health insurance. “Many of our clients have health insurance” said Hagan. “Many others are struggling to make ends meet; our mission is to compassionately listen to all of our clients, we are here to help them work through their problems regardless if they have insurance or not.” Hagan went on to emphasize the importance of New Directions’ loss of vision counseling. “We know that our counselor Kerry will be able to help a lot of people as they cope with the life altering effects of blindness in their own lives, and the lives of their loved ones.”
Additional Information about Interfaith Social Services
Interfaith Social Services has been serving impoverished South Shore residents since 1947. They are a center for local families and individuals in need. Programs include: thePantry Shelf, distributing 400,000 lbs. of food to impoverished local residents
every year. The Learning Pantry, educating food pantry clients about vital life skills such as financial literacy, nutrition, etc. HomeSafe, providing assistance and homelessness prevention services to families and individuals in emergency situations. Harvest Helpersorganizes backyard gardeners and community groups who donate fresh local produce to food pantries. New Directions Counseling Center serves adults, children, couples and families who are dealing with a myriad of life issues. A special program within the center reaches out to clients who cannot afford the help that they so desperately need.Quincy Medical Center Interfaith Chaplaincy delivers counseling to hospital patients and grieving families. Bureau Drawer thrift shop provides the community with an affordable option for clothing and household items. The shop is run entirely by volunteers. The Career Closet outfits low income job seekers with free professional attire. For more information about ISS or to donate online please visit: www.interfaithsocialservices.org