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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Grant to give low-cost counseling to clients below poverty line

Grant to give low-cost counseling to clients below poverty line

The New Life Counseling Center’s mission statement reads that the local facility seeks to “make a positive difference in the lives of children, youth and adults in the South Lafourche community.”

This past week, the counseling center got assurance that it will be able to do exactly that both now and into the future – thanks to a sizeable grant that will allow the facility to expand its services to clients.

New Life recently announced that it was the recipient of a $6,000 grant provided by the Bayou Community Foundation – money that will go toward providing counseling for as little as $10/session for natives with incomes below the poverty line.

The grant lasts from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016 or however long the $6,000 lasts in providing discounted rates to local clients. According to New Life Counseling Center Executive Director Matt Dickinson, the entire process has been a game-changer in providing locals with the help that they may need to overcome the many difficult obstacles that occur throughout life.

“We charged based on a sliding scale based on one’s income, and our lowest fee right now is currently $45,” Dickinson said. “But what this grant will do is it’ll pay $35 of that $45 for people, meaning that they can get our services for as little as $10 if they can provide proof that their income is on the poverty line or below it.

“We’re excited about it. It’s a great thing. We just need to make sure that we can get that information out to the public now so that everyone knows that this is something that’s available – right here on our bayou.”

The Cut Off-based facility is one where folks can get any number of counseling services. Dickinson said that New Life offers parenting, relationship, substance abuse, anger management anxiety and depression counseling, among other offerings.

“We pretty much run the gamut in respect to our counseling services,” Dickinson said.

That wide range of expertise means that almost anyone locally in poverty with a demand for a counselor can benefit from what’s being offered.

According to the grant, the poverty line for an individual is anyone with an annual income at or below $11,770. For each dependent added to a family, the annual income per family rises by $4,140.

The proposal was titled “Access to Care” because New Life “believes that is what this program offers to the underserved in our community.”
It then states that “funding would allow us to serve many additional families each month who could not otherwise receive counseling.”

“We have a lot of people who come in and they just can’t afford that $45 fee,” Dickinson said. “It’s unfortunate. But with this, a lot of those people who couldn’t get help will now be able to do so.”

Clinical Director Kristyn S. Carver will oversee the project. She is a licensed professional counselor, board-approved supervisor and she also holds a Ph. D in psychology and counseling.

Dickinson said he will do his due diligence on the project, as well – specifically in terms of finances. The overall goal, of course, is to increase the quality of life and the experiences of everyone locally so that we can be a happier, more united community.

Dickinson said he smiles with pride every time he sees a client come into the facility and gets the much-needed help that he/she needs. That feeling of pride becomes even warmer and stronger when the client then progresses and finds that balance and happiness that was lacking.

To know that this can happen to more people around the area is something that Dickinson said he and the entire staff at New Life Counseling Center is proud of and will never take for granted.

“When those things happen, it’s definitely awesome,” Dickinson said. “We’re one of the only counseling firms that’s this far south. This is something that we’re proud of and something that we hope can take care of a lot of the people who live in our area.”

To schedule an appointment with New Life Counseling Center, call 632-7797.