Gena Blanchard’s Story
Tell us about how and when you first became involved with NFCC:
When I heard that St. Luke’s was starting the Center for Counseling and Life Enrichment, I knew I wanted to become involved. I started out helping with mailings and acting as a hostess for events at the center, before they started offering on-site counseling. I have been passionate about counseling for years, when I was younger my family sought counseling for my sister. My parents could not afford an expensive counselor so they found a place that provided a sliding scale and were able to get my sister the help she needed. I know what it means to need therapy when you don’t have a lot of options. I am so proud of St. Luke’s for starting the Center for Counseling and Life Enrichment and I was so happy when it became the Nick Finnegan Counseling Center because it was such a meaningful way to honor Nick Finnegan.
What would you say are your strongest beliefs about mental health needs?
I think that most everyone at some point in their lives will benefit from therapy and counseling. It is a terribly important service even when you are not in crisis. Therapy can help individuals build life skills, learn how to make decisions, and also work things out in their lives. Counselors really help individuals learn more about themselves, which is particularly important right now as we continue to cope with so much isolation and time away from family and friends. I truly believe that counseling is vital and not discretionary, and is useful to all of us. I do believe that mental health is becoming less of a taboo subject and people are more open about the help they are receiving. Because of this, I hope more people will take advantage of mental health services, especially at NFCC.
What is one accomplishment as a board member that you are the most proud of?
I am most proud of the growth that occurred while I was a board member, and continues today. NFCC has done a great job of spreading the word of their services and making good decisions for the betterment of our community. They have been able to hire more and more therapists each year which enables them to serve more and more clients. I am also proud of their community outreach, especially of the work they are doing in schools who may not have counselors on staff and with the Salvation Army.
What motivates you to stay involved with NFCC?
I truly believe in the work NFCC is doing as well as the health of the organization. I have confidence in the fact that NFCC is offering a very important service to the community in so many different ways. Providing therapy alone is critical but I also take pride in knowing that NFCC has grown so much over the past 13 years and continues to grow because every decision made has been professional and well-intended for the clients and the community. NFCC is a healthy organization that I know will continue to grow and provide an impactful service for our community.