Dr. Tahani Dari’s relationship with the NBCC Foundation began in 2014 as a Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Doctoral Fellow. After completing the program, she continued her involvement as a mentor and reviewer in 2015, and she recently finished her second term on the MFP Addictions Counseling (MFP-AC) Advisory Council, serving as chair for the 2019–2020 program year. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University and The University of Toledo, Dr. Dari currently works as an assistant professor at The University of Toledo, mentors doctoral-level counseling students, and engages in community-based participatory research.
Her commitment to service and the community began at an early age as she observed and participated in her own family’s volunteer efforts. She shares that her grandfather stressed to her the importance of serving her community, particularly her responsibility to help vulnerable populations such as those living in poverty and the elderly.
Through volunteering, Dr. Dari witnessed inequities and disparities in access to mental health resources in the local and international communities she served. These observations reaffirmed her commitment to serving underserved communities, with an emphasis on advocating for improved access to mental health services and developing culturally relevant interventions and programs.
Dr. Dari shares that her biggest highlight while serving on the MFP-AC Advisory Council was the sense of giving back to the fellows and hearing about the impact they are having in their own communities and on the national level. Dr. Dari has been involved with several organizations but says the Foundation’s impact is always visible.
She recounts her time fondly and says the Advisory Council worked well together to keep their focus on the Foundation’s mission and goals. When faced with obstacles in decision-making or coming to a consensus, Dr. Dari was mindful to remain focused. “We all come from different backgrounds, but we have one common goal—well-being.” She acknowledges each member’s personal goals but says focusing energy on common interests and goals along with the purpose of the council assisted in making decisions.
Dr. Dari has a few words of wisdom for counselors-in-training, mentors, and incoming Advisory Council members. She shares, “Volunteers don’t necessarily have time, but they have the passion.” She views volunteering as a form of advocacy and says to remain mindful of why you are here. “You have the ability to shape the future of the counseling profession, and how we serve our clients.”
Participating in the Advisory Council presented Dr. Dari with an opportunity to advocate and represent the profession on behalf of those she serves. Dr. Dari believes serving on the Advisory Council affords members the ability to connect with others in the profession who have similar interests and passions, and in addition, it creates opportunities to collaborate with mental health professionals across the nation.
Dr. Dari’s future looks markedly like the past and present. As she closes her chapter of serving on the Advisory Council, she will continue her work in academia and research and will volunteer in a different medium—the classroom. Her advocacy efforts will also continue in the classroom as she assists doctoral students in identifying their causes and ways to serve their intended populations, and by creating future volunteers. She will also further her efforts as a pioneer in community-based participatory research.
Recently, Dr. Dari presented at the 2020 Bridging the Gap Digital Experience in June on the topic of “Developing Cultural Humility Within Societal Institutions” and received a 2020 Research Award from the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. And though her time as an Advisory Council member is ending, she remains connected to serving the Foundation in a new role as one of the newest members of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Dari is excited about this new opportunity to serve and looks forward to continuing the Foundation’s impact of bridging the gap in this new space.
Applications are open for the 2020–2021 Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Advisory Council through Sept. 1, 2020. To learn more or to apply, visit the application page.