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#StillServing: PTNT Alum in the Mental Health Field

Several of our Project Transformation North Texas alum, who once served with us during their college years, are now working in the field of mental health. Davia, Katy, Ludi, and Cassie sat down with Project Transformation National to talk about their current work and what they learned during their time at PT. We are so grateful that they are still serving in this way, and so proud to watch their journeys.

Davia Roberts, LPC,  is the Owner and Principal Consultant of CarrierBradley Agency based in Washington, D.C.

What inspired you to go into the field of mental health?
Davia: “After years of non-profit work in public schools, my students inspired me to pursue a career in mental health. While I regularly taught a curriculum that covered everything from bullying to drug use, I realized that my role was limited. I wanted to do more. I wanted a career path that would allow me to support my students on a deeper level. After research and much prayer, I realized that becoming a mental health counselor was the right option for me.”

Where have you seen God in your work this year?
Davia: “As a Black woman who specializes in racial trauma, God has used my work to be a loving reminder that my clients are beautiful image bearers. In the face of racism and brutality, my work reminds people of how God sees them. More importantly, my relationship with God has kept me in the field. He’s given me hope and rest when I felt depleted and apathetic. He’s restored me and my love for this work, despite the traumatic circumstances.”

Did you learn anything during your time with Project Transformation that is still relevant or guides your work today? If so, tell us more!
Davia: “As someone who is naturally introverted and extremely reserved, PT challenged me to connect outside my comfort zone. While every connection may not be magical, we may be surprised by the beautiful relationships we build in unlikely spaces. Thankfully, I’ve seen that magic transpire in my relationships, personal and professional.”

 

Katy Vandruff, LPC is an alumni of and a former staff person, too, from 2016-2019. Katy currently lives in Austin, TX and serves as an Associate LPC. 

What inspired you to go into the field of mental health?
Katy: “I’ve always been drawn to helping others with the belief that everyone deserves to feel heard and supported in this life, no matter what they’re experiencing. I’ve also been curious about people throughout my life and have enjoyed learning what makes someone who they are. Counseling felt like a beautiful blend of my interests and passions, and I love being apart of a field that emphasizes the importance of mental well-being.”

Where have you seen God in your work this year?
Katy: “I have seen God in the resilience and strength of my clients. Many have gone through unimaginable hardships and hurts in this life, and I’m always incredibly proud when a client can be vulnerable and share those experiences and feelings. This life certainly has ups and downs, and I’m so amazed when clients can still show up, face their challenges, and seek growth and healing.”

Did you learn anything during your time with Project Transformation that is still relevant or guides your work today? If so, tell us more!
Katy: “Project Transformation helped me discern my passion for working with adolescents and young adults. Through Project Transformation I learned to work with others from various backgrounds and walks of life, something I continue to do today. In the various positions I held throughout my time involved with Project Transformation, I also learned the importance and value of engaging in purposeful relationships with others. As a counselor, I love that my job centers on purposeful, transformative relationships with others!”

 

Ludi Acevedo, LPC, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate at Abiding Hope Christian Counseling in San Antonio, Texas. She served with PTNT in the summer of 2011.

What inspired you to go into the field of mental health?
Ludi: “Wanting to see people be transformed as they heal from past wounds. Finding a purpose in my own pain and connecting it to something I am passionate about. Specifically being able to help children become the best version of themselves.” 

Where have you seen God in your work this year?
Ludi: “I have seen him in the moments where a child has hope that things can be different, where a parent realizes that they can break generational patterns, where an adult realizes there is a reason as to why they respond the way they do and its not just that they are a horrible person. I see him everyday in the healing journey of many through tears and smiles.” 

Did you learn anything during your time with Project Transformation that is still relevant or guides your work today? If so, tell us more!
Ludi: “How important community is and how to view things systematically. In PT we always saw the children not only as individuals but their families, environment, spirituality, etc. This really helped shape my outlook as to how important it is to look at things in a systematic way to bring about better change. I also realized how important working with the families was and not just the individual children. On a personal note, I really learned about the value of living in community and continued to seek that out.”

 

Cassie Samuelson is currently serving in the mental health field as a Counselor-in-training at Tarleton State University’s Student Counseling Services. She is an alumni of PT North Texas where she served multiple years then served a 1-year fellowship on staff as a National fellow with PT Central Texas.

What inspired you to go into the field of mental health?
Cassie: “My own struggles with mental health began my interest, but especially once I realized how integrated mental health is in every part of life. As we’ve seen in such a difficult last 2 years, wellness isn’t linear or one dimensional. Caring for ourselves should be as high a priority as caring for the ones we love, or completing our daily to-dos. I’m blessed to help remind, encourage, and teach others about mental health and wellness in this way!” 

Did you learn anything during your time with Project Transformation that is still relevant or guides your work today? If so, tell us more!
Cassie: “ABSOLUTELY. Empathy, hard work, and community are themes I uphold in my daily practice and encourage with my clients. PT was the first place I learned about equity in practice and truly advocating for self and others. I’ll carry those teachings forever!”