Foundation Volunteer Funds A Fellowship to Support New Jersey Population
Kathryn Fellows never thought she would have the ability to provide support for aspiring clinicians in New Jersey, but that’s exactly what she did in 2023. Her generous donation of $10,000 was the catalyst for the Garden State Master’s Counseling Initiative Fellowship, which provides educational support for a Black or African American master’s-level counseling student living in New Jersey and committed to serving underserved populations in New Jersey inner cities. The award is available for United States citizens, permanent residents, or international students with an F-1 Visa.
Kathryn was not always a clinician, having spent most of her professional career climbing the ladder of corporate America in New York City. She did not realize clinical work was her calling but believes she received the message when she was ready to hear it.
“Once the house was paid off and there was no one left to put through college, I became a clinician after returning to graduate school for a second master’s degree. I was wild and took a chance with a career change.”
Her interests lie in her clients’ stories. She is fascinated by their journey to seek help, their first impressions, and how they arrived at their therapy goals for work, school, home, and in the community. She wants to know who their supporters are and their most problematic relationships. She is invested in learning everything about her clients in order to provide them with outstanding support.
“As a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor, I am honored to treat clients daily,” she enthusiastically describes. She goes on to further explain her commitment to the profession. “In addition to private practice, I undertake weekend endeavors. I make house calls to youth and families in poverty in Newark, New Jersey.”
Though she primarily treats anxiety and depression in private practice, her main interest is in youth on the autism spectrum. “Next year, I look forward to treating senior clients who have Medicare. Luckily, the National Board for Certified Counselors has informative webinars regarding this subject on their YouTube channel.”*
Despite the rush of dopamine that can come from acts of philanthropy, her values and beliefs guide her in these endeavors. She enjoys being a supporting actor with her clients and playing an ancillary role in the lives of other clinicians.
“In other words, it is not about me. It is about sharing resources so we can all shine brighter as a group.”
NBCC Foundation’s mission to leverage the power of counseling to advance global health equity through expanded access to counseling and mental health services initially drew her to the organization. The Foundation’s scholarships, fellowships, and community capacity-building to provide support and opportunities to underserved populations solidified her commitment.
As a volunteer reviewer for scholarship and fellowship applications, she witnessed the high quality of applicants committed to the counseling profession. With a limited number of awards to offer, Kathryn’s concern turned toward those who would not receive a scholarship or fellowship. She witnessed many students postpone their education because of unpaid internships/practicums, which are a vital part of the counseling program. This empowered Kathryn to investigate ways to help.
Kathryn is enthusiastic about providing another student the chance to continue in their pursuit of a counseling degree, specifically in the state of New Jersey. In addition, she hopes it encourages others to give back to the counseling profession.
“From a professional perspective, participating in volunteer activities and donating are excellent ways to pay it forward. We have all received help along the way.”
To learn more about the Garden State Master’s Counseling Initiative Fellowship, visit the application.
*For more details about the changes coming to Medicare for professional counselors, please visit NBCC’s Government Affairs Department webpage for fact sheets, Medicare FAQs, and information on the webinar series noted in this interview.