Article written by Urban Alliance staff*. Photos courtesy of Urban Alliance staff and network participants.

In response to inquiries by area counselors and pastors and dialogue that followed, Charis was created in 2012 to help people become emotionally healthy and resilient by enhancing local care and counseling services.

Through Charis, organizations are provided with support from Urban Alliance, including consultation, technical assistance, grant funding, supplies, volunteers and training, to increase the impact of their care and counseling services as they implement strategies to holistically help people in our community.

And, since 2013, the Charis network has grown to 28 members, helping people connect to 20 support groups, 14 professional counselors, 4 organizations that provide lay care, and 5 mental health care organizations.

Throughout 2015, counselors engaged in Charis gathered for peer consultation groups on a monthly basis, which offered opportunities for clinicians to provide each other with professional support in their work with clients.

Also in 2015, 50 people completed a safeTALK (Suicide Alertness for Everyone) Charis training, 27 people participated in the Charis training, “Fostering a Healthy View of Self,” and 362 people were impacted through support groups offered by members of the Charis network.

And, five Charis grants that were awarded to help increase the impact of local care and counseling services offered at organizations in the Urban Alliance network:

ABC Women’s Center
Funding will support expanded post-abortive services, including classes for individuals, small groups, and inmates at York Correctional Facility, as well as training seminars for instructors.

Colonial Point Christian Church
Funding will cover costs to provide books that will be distributed through The Anchor, a support group for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

First Church of Christ Wethersfield
Funding covered costs to provide a training titled “Youth Mental Health First Aid,” an evidence-based training that equips people to recognize risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, and how to best help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Renew Counseling Associates
Funding will aid in the development of a sustainable library of resources made available to attendees of classes and seminars.

The Worship Center
Funding covered costs of sending two church members to a Stephen Ministry training with the goal of starting a Celebrate Recovery program.

Do you provide professional Christian counseling or emotional support services in Connecticut? Click here to get involved.