UTSA Represented at National Mentoring Summit 2011
This year’s National Mentoring Summit Conference, “Achieving Academic and Social Success: Supporting Youth through Mentoring,” was held in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The summit brought together leading experts in the field from across all sectors to develop strategies that leverage mentoring and increase graduation rates among America’s youth. Invited to be part of a panel and represent UTSA at this national event was Dr. Michael Karcher, professor for the department of Counseling.
Dr. Karcher was one of less than a dozen presenters invited. He resided over two research panels, one on mentoring and academic achievement and the other on mentoring and juvenile justice. The panels were made of experts in the field from Portland University, Boston, Portland State, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. The keynote speech was delivered by First Lady Michelle Obama in which she announced The Corporate Mentoring Challenge, an initiative led by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to encourage U.S. companies to launch a mentoring program within the communities they serve.
“There were several highlights of the Summit; however the most profound for me was watching the faces of the kids on stage when Michelle Obama described them and their mentoring relationships. It was very powerful,” said Karcher.
Dr. Karcher is well known for his mentoring program called Cross-Age Peer Mentoring or CAMP. This mentoring program differs from the traditional mentoring program of an adult paired up with a youth. Instead in CAMP the mentor is an older youth typically high school-aged, who is paired up with an elementary or middle school-aged child for the purpose of providing the younger youth guidance, social support, or instruction.
On the local level, Dr. Karcher’s CAMP curriculum is currently being used by the San Antonio chapter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Harlendale School District, SA Communities in School, and Boy with a Ball San Antonio (BWAB SA).
Evans Hosts 2011 ACA Conference in New Orleans
More than 4,000 counselors gathered in New Orleans this year for the American Counseling Association (ACA) Conference hosted by President and Associate Dean for the Downtown campus, Dr. Marcheta Evans. The ACA is a not-for-profit professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession.
News anchor and CNN Correspondent, Soledad O’Brien kicked off the conference with the keynote address on the counselors’ role in capturing and restoring humanity to people’s lives. Moreover, their impact to increase understanding and valuing diversity.
The conference addressed critical social issues that impact clients and students alike; grieving the loss of loved ones, finding jobs, the impact of social media, eating, disorders, martial conflict/divorce, suicide, and sexual addiction. In addition to focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the effects of military service on the family, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Autism.
As part of this year’s conference, ACA attendees also volunteered for a service project called “Give Back to the Community,” involving restoration work at the Holt Cemetery. Established in 1879, Holt Cemetery became a site for New Orleans’s impoverished African-American community. Three busloads of ACA members were taken to Holt Cemetery to help restore much of the area that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Many grave markers and borders were destroyed and debris covered much of the area.
Dr. Marcheta Evans began her term as President-elect on July 1, 2009 and assumed the role of ACA President on July 1, 2010 for a one-year term.
“Counselors are in great demand today, as we face economic hardship, employment distress, natural disasters, loss of loved ones, martial conflict, and many more circumstances that can affect our mental health,” said Evans.