Kara Poe, a graduate student in Xavier University’s Community Counseling program and a Covington, KY resident, is teaming up with Tender Mercies in Over the Rhine to provide counseling services to emotionally and/or mentally disabled homeless persons.
Since February, Poe has spent three days a week counseling residents that have either requested or been referred for therapy to fulfill a practicum requirement for her master’s degree in community counseling. During the summer months, she has also started co-leading a stress management group with fellow Xavier student John Orr.
“It’s rare that I either arrive or leave Tender Mercies without a genuine smile on my face,” said Poe. “I feel very grateful to have found a placement in which I can learn so much, but also feel so welcome and appreciated.”
From the beginning of her program, Poe knew that she wanted to work with adults. Tender Mercies not only provided her with the opportunity to get experience working in her desired area but also to give back to the community.
“I felt by completing my Practicum at Tender Mercies I would not only be exposed to a diverse group of clients, but would also be lending my time to a cause and mission that I fully support,” said Poe.
Poe’s placement is unique. Most Community Counseling students are placed in agencies that specialize in mental health services, something Tender Mercies does not typically offer. Poe’s presence allows the organization to further aid clients in ways they haven’t been able to in the past.
Her commitment with Tender Mercies ends in mid-July. She will take a well-deserved break and begin finishing her final degree requirements in the fall. She plans to graduate in May 2010.
Her time at Tender Mercies, though, is something that she will always remember.
“Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my experiences at Tender Mercies, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat,” said Poe.