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Janis Edralin
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Top: Janis Edralin (Photo by James Benavides)

UTSA graduate student Janis Edralin sees real-life benefits of SECC

By Lynn Gosnell
Special Projects Writer

(Oct. 3, 2007)--Janis April Edralin, a UTSA graduate student in the Department of Counseling and Education Psychology, is learning a lot about San Antonio's homeless population. As part of her professional development, Edralin is completing a 300-hour internship with the Community-Based Counseling Program, part of Family Violence Prevention Services Inc. and the Battered Women and Children's Shelter of Bexar County [SECC charity code 415055].

Since August, Edralin has been counseling homeless men and women at the Dwyer Avenue Center for Transitional Housing, the SAMM Shelter and the Battered Women's Shelter.

The former parole officer and appellate court advocate found that she enjoyed the counseling aspects of her former jobs the most -- a decision that led her to UTSA's graduate school in 2006. She will graduate in December.

The Dwyer Center is located in downtown San Antonio, directly across from a new high-rise luxury condominium development advertising residencies "from the $500s." It's a contrast that Edralin can't help but take note of as she enters and leaves the center.

"Most of our clients are victims of family violence or abuse. Some feel safer on the street than in their homes," said Edralin, who noted that she can meet clients at the homeless shelters or even on the street.

"A lot of my clients have not had a positive guide in life. They don't know that they come first or that they can share their feelings," Edralin said, adding that "some clients did have jobs, but fell on hard times."

Edralin sees about five to 10 clients a week, as her clients fulfill a requirement to see a counselor before staying in a shelter. "Our role is to be present, to talk about empowerment in terms of what issues they are trying to resolve, such as finding a job and a home," Edralin said. "I can see them [Battered Women's Shelter and Family Violence Prevention Services] putting their resources to work."

The 2007 State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) runs Oct. 1-19.

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Make plans to attend "UTSA's Got Talent," 9-10:30 a.m., Friday, Oct. 19 in the Business Building Liu Auditorium (2.01.02), 1604 Campus. You won't see these acts on YouTube! Did you know that your boss can dance and sing? Come see UTSA's faculty and staff display their extroverted sides in a fun-filled event. If you are interested in participating or helping with the event, call (210) 458-5136. Your SECC donation is your ticket to this one-of-a-kind event.

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Want to donate online to SECC? Learn how to give at the eWay site.

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