Middlesboro will now have the same child advocacy services as Pineville. The Salvation Army, Cornerstone Christian Counseling and Ray of Hope have joined together and decided to combine services for the Middlesboro area.
Both the Ray of Hope and Cornerstone will operate satellite offices from the Salvation Army building on 18th Street in Middlesboro. Ray of Hope will continue to maintain its home location at 313 Cherry Street in Pineville.
The organizations held an open house on Friday to make the announcement for the joint effort to bring more services to Middlesboro. Adrian Twinney of the Salvation Army stated that this program is one of the most vital programs.
Jake Lewis from Cornerstone Christian Counseling and Lindsay Bertrand from Ray of Hope will be available at the satellite offices.
Lewis deals mainly with family services. Lewis, through his Christian-style of counseling, helps families deal with victimized children. Lewis will consult the non-offending guardian. The guardian will be able to talk to Jake about their struggles.
“When you add Christ to any counseling, it works,” said Lewis about his style of counseling.
He also holds parenting classes for those who need them. The classes are free of charge.
Lewis stated that the goal is to get people transitioned back into their lives so that they are not dependent on counseling.
Bertrand wears many hats in her role with the Ray of Hope. She is a victim advocate, forensic interviewer and child therapist. Each one of these services will be available to Middlesboro.
As a forensic interviewer, Bertrand is trained to ask questions and process information with a child that is non-leading and delivered in a way that is comfortable for the child.
The information that is gained can be utilized by the court in the case of a victimized child.Interviews are burned to a DVD for courtroom purposes. In the case of a victimized child, Bertrand acts as a child advocate.
In the role of a therapist, Bertrand has to dive into the thoughts and feelings of victimized children. She uses a technique called play therapy. Using this method, Bertrand is able to see how the child interacts with toys.
The child will either be given instructions on how to play (directive) or will be given free roam to choose what will be played (indirect).
According to Bertrand, people can tell how the mindset of a child is by watching them play because kids tend to mimic things that are going on inside the house.
The one of the goals of the Ray of Hope is to teach kids that there are adults that will help them “fight the bad guys”. They work closely with social services, the Commonwealth Attorney Office and local and state police.
Also present at the open house was Commonwealth Attorney Karen Greene Blondell. “Everyday my office deals with people (not only victims, but families of defendants) that needs counseling,” said Blondell. “The need is overwhelming. Every community owes its greatest duty to its most vulnerable population. Our most vulnerable population would be our very young and our very old.”
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at email@example.com.