Welcome To My Office – by Ms. Adina
Adina Arden-Cooper is a National Board Certified Teacher and Licensed Professional Counselor who leads our school’s character education and counseling programs. From time to time, Ms. Adina will be offering insights about the role emotional well-being and character education play in students’ lives and the ArtSpace Community. Her first “guest post” is below.
Welcome! I’d like to take a minute to introduce myself. My name is Ms. Adina and I am the School Counselor at ArtSpace. My job is to tend to the social and emotional education and well-being of all ArtSpace students. This happens in a variety of ways, from coordinating school-wide programs such as bully prevention (PULSE) to individual counseling, with a range responsibilities in between.
My office door is plastered with notes, cards and drawings made for me by students. They say things like, “thank you for helping me,” “you make life better,” “you’re awesome” and “I love you.” These words of kindness and gratitude are the first thing I see every morning and serve as an amazing reminder of how blessed I am to do this work. No matter how hard things get sometimes (and boy do they get hard!) it is all worth it to know that I’m making a difference in the lives of students.
As a counselor, I am entrusted with the responsibility of helping students and families cope with some very personal challenges. I feel honored to bear witness to areas of weakness and vulnerability as well as those of strength and success. I’ve been doing this work for about fifteen years now and I continue to be moved and amazed by people’s stories. It is a humbling experience.
I realize that counseling can be intimidating. It’s hard to open up about emotional challenges. There’s also a lot of stigma associated with counseling. Some feel ashamed to admit they are struggling or need support. Some people think it means they’re “crazy” or have “issues;” that there is something wrong with them. But the fact of the matter is that EVERYONE can benefit from some extra support once in a while. Being proactive about addressing social or emotional hurdles is tremendously helpful for personal growth and development. If kids can learn effective strategies for coping with stress, managing their emotions and developing strong relationships, they will achieve better academic success. Ultimately, they will grow into healthier, happier adults.
It’s important to realize though that counselors cannot fix things or make problems disappear. We serve as supportive guides, but in order for the process to be effective, individuals have to participate and work toward their own well-being. This means students and families must confront their obstacles and actively navigate around them. Know that I’m here to be a resource, to educate and to help to the best of my ability, without judgment or blame.
My hope is that when people step into my office, they feel a sense of calm and comfort. I strive to create a safe and welcoming space for all, regardless of whatever has brought them in. Thank you for visiting today. I look forward to sharing more about my role and the amazing programs we have to support and nurture children here at ArtSpace!