A promising, talented, kind young woman in our community committed suicide immediately prior to beginning her career as a college freshman in the summer of 2013. Our community was shocked. As the community pondered how they missed her inner turmoil, one of the local churches in our community wanted to help prevent this from ever occurring again. But how?

One of the members of that church had recently graduated with a master’s in counseling psychology from nearby Tarleton State University. She knew that capable student counselors often had difficulty finding local agencies and centers where they could complete a 320 hour requirement for counseling clients. And yet, she also knew some mental health providers in her community didn’t have enough hours in the day to completely help their current client case loads. And some of their clients were not being seen as often as they should have been for optimal care. Or worse, certain requirements of their organizations prevented them from providing services at all for clients or for their families.

She remembered that one of her professors had wanted to open up a counseling center utilizing the students, operated on a non-profit basis so that counseling could be available to a larger percentage of people. She approached this professor, Dr. Donald H. Lane, to assist in setting up such an organization in her church, Oakdale United Methodist Church. He not only agreed to help, but he became the driving force to get the Center started!

Oakdale also readily agreed to providing its facilities if they were not already being used for church ministry purposes. A Board of Trustees was recruited and the first board meeting took place in the fall of 2014. Three eager practicum students volunteered to be the first counselors for Compassion Counseling Center in October 2014. The Center will begin seeing clients on January 15, 2015.