Catholic Social Services of Baldwin County in Robertsdale does much to help many Baldwin County citizens who are in need. They have provided funds for health care and dental care; provided prescription drug vouchers for those who could not afford …
Catholic Social Services of Baldwin County in Robertsdale does much to help many Baldwin County citizens who are in need. They have provided funds for health care and dental care; provided prescription drug vouchers for those who could not afford their medications; and load wheelchairs, walkers, shower and potty chairs and walking canes.
Through Project Reach, CSS provide school supplies and vouchers that can be used to purchase school uniforms. Thousands of families have received food from the food pantry, gotten help paying utility bills, rent and other day-to-day expenses or were referred to other service agencies for help.
Catholic Charities, community contributions and the support of the United Way have funded the help with shelter, clothing, food, housing and medical care CSS has been able to provide to the community.
Now, those funds have made it possible for CSS to offer help with the psychological burdens that often plague those who are struggling financially.
“We now have a therapeutic counseling program with three part-time licensed counselors at our Robertsdale office on a sliding fee scale, to help families cope with their problems. We all need help at one time or another,” said Michele Prockup, director of CSS, adding, “We are pleased that we can now help our families learn to cope with the challenges they face.”
Counseling hours are Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Prockup said applying for the services simply involves completing intake forms and providing income and insurance information.
The three counselors have mater’s degrees as well as extensive experience and each brings to the job a special area of interest.
For Jeannie Fleek, LPC, who holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling, it is children. She has worked with children and teenagers, many of whom were the victims of sexual or physical abuse.
The other two counselors, Judy Murphy, LPC and Judy Simpson, LPC, said Fleek is “wonderful” with children.
Fleek said she has worked with many children and teens who have behavioral problems, especially Oppositonal Defiant Disorder.
“Children with ODD don’t mind their parents and are disrespectful to authority figures. Many times, they have had abusive or neglectful parents. Sometimes, the parents are just so overwhelmed, they don’t know how to deal with their children in constructive ways,” she said, noting that when the parents learn to cope and the child learns how to seek and receive attention in a positive way, things usually improve.
“If I had someone who had been traumatized or was the victim of sexual abuse, I would refer them to Jeannie,” said Judy Murphy.
Murphy said the quality of the counseling they are providing could easily cost $70 to $100 in a clinic.
“We want people to know they will be getting quality care. I think that we, as professionals measure up to any counselor in private practice — we’re here by choice. We really hope they will take advantage of our services because it is so affordable,” she said.
Judy Simpson, who worked for the The Lighthouse for many years, and now also works for the United Methodist Children’s Home, said she enjoys working with adults and young adults and that her years working for the domestic abuse shelter provided a lot of specialized experience.
“A lot of people have experienced some kind of trauma and many have abuse issues. Sometimes, just having somebody to talk things over with will help any of us think more clearly. I hope the community will take advantage of our services,” she said.
For Judy Murphy, returning to work at CSS was something of a homecoming, as she had worked at the agency some years ago. She was a full-time therapist and worked for CSS in Mobile and Robertsdale. Then she went to work for the United Methodist Children’s Home as regional director for South Alabama and the Florida panhandle.
“I retired two years ago and came home (to CSS) because I missed it,” she said, with a laugh.
Giving people hope is what Murphy said the counselors do well. “The people we see feel that they have no hope, but they do. They have strengths as well. There isn’t anybody who comes into my office that doesn’t have any strengths. We try to help them learn to use those strengths,” she said.
Murphy noted that she and Simpson have been friends for many years and said that Fleek fit right in. “We all get along well and we understand each other and we work well together,” she said.
“We can offer support and encouragement and we are non-judgmental,” Fleek said.