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mental illness Archives - Community | Union Institute & University

Janet K. Kempf

Pay it 1964ward – My scholarship will help me plant seeds of hope to combat mental illness

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The Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964ward campaign is underway and is already making a difference in the lives of our students. At Union, 100 percent of funds that donors designate to scholarships goes directly to the student.

Janet K. Kempf

Janet K. Kempf

In the Q & A below, Janet K. Kempf discusses how her scholarship that provides support as she pursues a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will allow her to provide hope and collaboration toward life-enhancing outcomes for the mentally ill.

Q. How has the scholarship you received impacted your academic career?
A. Receiving the David P. Finks Scholarship was a true honor. Because of the scholarship, I have been able to continue to pursue my Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with less financial burden. This is significant because a main barrier for students pursing higher education degrees is how to pay for the high cost of the training. I was able to decrease my work hours and devote my attention to a full load of class work and my internship.

Q. Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. Can you share how this goal impacts you and your community?
A. Part of the reason I returned to school after 20 years in the mental health profession was to better understand theories and practices in the treatment of individuals living with mental illness. In our community, mental illness affects one out of five people. That means a lot of people are struggling to live a peaceful and satisfying life. With my degree, I can work with such individuals to provide hope and collaborate with them toward life-enhancing outcomes. In turn, these individuals will spread hope and contribute to the community by sharing their talents. Hope then multiplies.

Q. Union is known for its commitment to social justice. How will social justice be interwoven in your career plans?
A. Social justice is not only interwoven, but integral to the practice of counseling. In order to be an effective counselor, I must display empathy and form a therapeutic relationship with the individual. To be empathetic, I must be fully present with the individual and gain an appreciation of their culture and life. Everyone deserves the same treatment regardless of present or past struggles. As a counselor, I am perhaps more aware of the struggles because I sit with individuals who are actively experiencing the pain that comes with mental illness. I have a unique opportunity to share with others the reality of this pain and advocate for their treatment needs.

Q. What are your plans after you earn your degree?
A. After earning this degree, I will be able to assist individuals make life-enhancing outcomes, helping will better society. I also hope to continue my education by earning a Doctorate in Clinical Counseling Education so I will be able to help plant the seed of hope in the lives of the individuals I counsel and also in students who will be the next generation of counselors. Everyone in society has the ability to contribute to social change. I am fortunate that the seed was planted in me years ago; now through my work the number of empowered individuals will grow, positively impacting society.

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