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PCCF grant sends school counselors to national conference

The opportunity to attend the ASCA (American School Counselor Association) Annual Conference was an amazing experience

Note: Thanks to a Polk County Community Foundation grant, three school counselors from Polk County Schools were able to attend last year’s American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Annual Conference in Denver. These three counselors were able to meet other counselors from around the world and attend training sessions to help broaden their knowledge. The three attending counselors were Monica Barber (Sunny View Elementary), Ashley Blackwell (Polk Central Elementary) and Linda Sage (Polk County Middle). Below, Barber shares her thoughts on the conference.

The opportunity to attend the ASCA (American School Counselor Association) Annual Conference was an amazing experience. This was a unique opportunity to spend five days with other professionals that have the same love, desire, and commitment to do what we do (along with building relationships with fellow school counselors here in the county). Being around people with the same drive helps to motivate and encourage you to be better and do more.

This particular conference focused on Relate, Recharge, Reflect and Realize. The conference was kicked off by an inspiring message from Captain Mark Kelly. Being able to listen and meet an actual person that had been on the moon was flabbergasting and surreal. He made it clear that kids can go the moon if they want because he did. This was an eye opener that when a kid says he wants to see the moon we need to truly encourage that because a kid did!

Many of the breakout sessions I attended focused on the whole child and supporting them with anxiety, depression, bullying, trauma and even perfectionism issues. These areas are often talked about and discussed but having the opportunity to sit with someone from across the United States and hear them say what you are saying was refreshing in the sense that they have the same need as we do. Finding and building relationships with people from other states and even countries are resources that are priceless.

The opportunity from the grant permitted me to see counseling from outside Polk County to looking at it from around the states and take information and resources back here and use them to help my kids here in Polk County. To let them know they are not the only ones in their situations. Also, to confirm that I am not the only one with these same battles that feels unbeatable. This opportunity gave a fresh look into areas and aspects of my student’s lives that were not as visible prior to this conference. With the information and the reflection with the other counselors it opens many views into small worlds.

The best quote from the conference was from the perfectionism session.

In case you forgot to remind yourself this morning:
Your butt is perfect.
Your smile lights up the room.
Your mind is insanely cool.
You are way more than enough.
And you are doing an amazing job at life.

This speaker was phenomenal. It made me think twice about having a bad day!

Thank you,
Monica Barber
School Counselor, Sunny View Elementary

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