It is no easy task to change a life

It is no easy task to change a life

It is no easy task to change a life. Over the past year, the 11 interns in SAY’s Medi-Cal Counseling Clinic helped equip over 250 kids and families with tools and resources to improve their lives. These remarkable counselors have volunteered over 15,000 hours to the youth and families we serve; an equivalent of 8 full time employees!

"I help kids learn to trust again."

I help kids learn to trust again. -Britni Pimental

Britni is a therapy intern who comes to SAY from the University of San Francisco.

Britni saw the power of counseling with a recent client, a 12 year old girl we’ll call Samantha. Samantha came to SAY feeling that no one loved her and that no one ever would.

Many of the kids we see at SAY have a troubled home life with parents struggling with violent outbursts or addictions to drugs and alcohol. Entering her teen years, Samantha was cutting herself and suffering from depression. She also hated therapy, having had ineffective experiences with it before coming to SAY.

Britni broke through the wall and within five months Samantha had stopped cutting. Britni smiles when thinking of Samantha, saying, “She feels that there is always one person in the world who cares about her. She’s changed her course. She’s going to leave here feeling she is lovable.

"My clients are dedicated to their recovery."

My clients are dedicated to their recovery. -Ashley Praplan

Ashley, working toward her Masters in Counseling Psychology at USF, came to SAY because she wanted to work with both children and families. Right now her youngest client is 8 and her oldest is 23. “I love SAY. I like that I give kids hope when they are going through a tough time.

For youth who are facing challenges like domestic violence, sexual or physical abuse at home, our interns provide a safe harbor. “Abuse is a major issue. We treat the clients and meet with parents. We work with kids to create safety plans and we let them know about the Coffee House Teen Shelter, so that they know that there is a safe place they can go to.

Every child gets a list of phone numbers for them to call if they are in trouble. We show them that they have resources when they feel totally helpless.

Ashley admits that change takes time, “There might not be a huge change every session, but something is happening.” Change also requires an immense dedication. Many of the clients we serve do not have access to their own transportation, and instead take up to 2 to 3 hours just getting to their appointments on the bus.

“One of my clients is 16 and has an eight year-old brother. They take the bus to their counseling appointment after school, rain or shine. It turns into a six-hour excursion for them by the time they get home, but they are so dedicated and have made immense progress.”

"We help create measurable results."

We help create measurable results. -Will Gayowski

Will has served SAY’s youth for nearly one year. He knows that counseling is not a touchy-feely sort of service, but a process that generates real results in the lives of those we work with. “We get specific, measurable outcomes,” Will says.

Clients know that they want to feel less anxious or depressed, and our interns work to measure that so they know when they are succeeding. “We use a scale to measure the client’s feelings and how they interact with the world. From there we work on ways to improve that number.”

We’ve seen outstanding results over the past year:

  • 90% of children demonstrated improved behavior
  • 75% of adults showed an increase in strengths and abilities to manage problems

Help the kids who need it most