By JEROD CLAPP
In a video, Katy Hume recounted the difficulties she had as a high school student because of her anxiety issues. Panic attacks struck and it interrupted her school work.
She said a $10,000 donation from AT&T Inc. to Personal Counseling Service could help students who were like her reach their goals. Now, she’s a teacher at the Green Oaks Performing Arts Academy in Shreveport, La.
AT&T made the donation through their Aspire program, which is aimed at lowering high school dropout rates. The company’s Indiana president, George Fleetwood, said in a press release that all students deserve the best chances they can get in school.
“AT&T is committed to the communities we serve,” Fleetwood said in the release. “Contributing to the success of the future leaders of our world is the best investment any company can make.”
Doug Drake, executive director of Personal Counseling Services, said the money will primarily go to high school students who may not graduate unless they receive mental health services. He said the $10,000 will help five students and their families for six months of treatment — which he said is typical turnaround for students unless some kind of trauma is involved in their issues.
“When we secure funding, we don’t want to earmark that for one session for a client,” Drake said. “One session is not going to do anything for everyone. We have to try to earmark for individuals for at least six months.”
State Rep. Ed Clere helped secure the money for the organization.
“The services provided here are critical to student success,” Clere said. “I could think of few better investments for this grant money. The children and teens who are seeing services here are dealing with issues ranging from abuse, whether it be physical, sexual, emotional or substance abuse to peer pressure and bullying issues.”
Drake said 61 percent of the clients Personal Counseling Service takes in are children and youth. He also said 47 percent of their total clientele are below the federal poverty guidelines, where they may not have insurance or may ride the line to qualify for federal medical programs.
“[Donations like this are] actually critical because most of these families we see in these circumstances have very limited insurance or no insurance,” Drake said. “So there’s very few options for people in those situations. With us getting additional funding, we’re able to see those people who are in the gap where no one else will see them.”
Personal Counseling Service serves seven counties in Indiana and four in Kentucky. Drake said in 2011, 7,755 clients were served.