The Listening Ear Supports WWVA Students

There is a lot of listening going on at Walla Walla Valley Academy (WWVA), more than previous years.

Let’s face it. We all need someone who listens in our lives—sometimes more than others. And although WWVA faculty provide an open door and a desire to be available for any student, there are time limitations.

It’s been a long-time goal of the faculty to add a certified counselor to the team in an effort to better meet the needs of students. To that end Celena Veverka, a social worker, was hired part time and, assisted by part-time volunteer Janet Wilkinson, meets students’ needs through the WWVA counseling office.

The goal of the counseling office, while imparting skills and helpful information, is to provide students a place to be safe and appreciated for who they are. The services are designed to aid students in whatever issues they bring by listening, resourcing, supporting and working to strengthen families as needed.

The counseling office, dubbed “The Listening Ear,” has become a place where many students feel comfortable sharing their feelings and life difficulties. Since the beginning of the year, students have dropped in or made appointments to address issues or work out conflicts resulting in more than 1,000 contacts.

From the start the students were friendly and accepting although somewhat unsure about what to do with their mentors. As time passed more and more students have utilized the counseling services.

Examples of issues addressed greatly range: abuse/neglect, family, emotional regulation skills, substance abuse, sexual activity, depression, anxiety, suicide, anger, conflict, mental disorders, peer struggles, violence and many more.

Because the office is centrally located, students are reminded regularly of the availability of the services. With such high visibility it is easier to form casual relationships in the halls that eventually lead to a student feeling heard, cared for and understood.

As well as individual counseling, the counseling office provides several groups for students to participate in during lunchtime on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

One is an open, general support group for students who simply need to talk and express their feelings. This group is important because it provides students with the opportunity to talk while teaching them to listen to others and accept others for who they are and how they feel.

Another is a closed group of students who meet to discuss personal issues, support one another and develop a framework for life that will enable them to accomplish their personal goals.

The third group is an open group of students meeting to practice social skills through fun and interesting games, activities, discussions and friendly interactions. All these groups are intended to support students while teaching them valuable skills for life.

At WWVA, it’s about each student’s potential. Every effort is made to impact the whole young person, not only preparing each spiritually, academically and socially but also emotionally.

Through compassionate and competent teaching and now counseling, WWVA's staff and faculty seek to prepare students for the second coming of Christ by instilling in each a love for God, a love for learning, for life and for service.

August 01, 2004 / Upper Columbia Conference