The Office of Intercultural Programs (OIP) and the Counseling Center announced a new partnership between Taylor University and Crosswinds Counseling.
The partnership was introduced by Maribel Magallanes, director of student leadership and intercultural programs, on March 29. According to her announcement, this connection will offer racial diversity to the counselors available to students.
Kiara Williams is a counselor at Crosswinds Counseling, and will serve Taylor students virtually.
“The Taylor Counseling Center is excited to announce a partnership with Crosswinds that will offer free virtual counseling to students who prefer to meet with a Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) counselor,” the announcement from Magallanes said. “Kiara Williams, MS, APC, LMHCA, specializes in eating disorders, anxiety, depression, trauma, body image, life transitions, relationship issues and grief.”
Kathy Chamberlain, director of the counseling center, initiated this connection. After coming into office in August 2020, Chamberlain inherited a counselor referral list.
After a student asked her if the Counseling Center had a person of color on staff, she took a deep look into the referral list she inherited, and found that there were no minority counselors listed.
The reason for this is multi-dimensional. Taylor is located in a rural area, and telehealth — the virtual healthcare system — was not covered by most insurance plans prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chamberlain knew this lack of diversity needed to change. In December she contacted a variety of minority Christian counselors to see who might be good candidates for the center’s referral list.
During this time, she spoke with Williams, a counselor at Crosswinds.
“As your counselor I will be someone objective and unbiased available to assist with easing your burden and helping you work through these struggles,” Williams said on Crosswinds Counseling’s site. “I want to help you recognize how much power you have and unlock your full potential with proven therapy techniques so that you can be your best self.”
Both women agreed – Williams would be a great fit at Taylor.
However, Williams was not accepting insurance at that time. Wanting to make this connection a reality, Williams directed Chamberlain to the Crosswinds Business Development Director, Colleen Terrell (‘84).
Chamberlain quickly discovered that Terrell is a Taylor University alumna and was eager to find a way to partner with her alma mater.
Terrell secured grant money to make the partnership possible.
“Now, students can receive five telehealth sessions free of charge through Crosswinds during this academic year. We are hopeful this will continue to be possible again next year,” Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain looks forward to the lasting effect this implementation will have on campus.
“I hope this is the beginning of having more diverse counseling options for our students,” Chamberlain said. “In addition, our staff will continue our ongoing learning/training to be culturally informed and competent counselors.