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Turning lives around, one family at a time

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Although he lived in an intact family with both of his biological parents, the 13-year-old Denton County boy was facing truancy charges, experimenting with drugs, “huffing” paint, and associating with gang members. The boy and his 10-year-old brother had very little supervision because his parents worked long hours.

During a counseling session, the boys’ father cried when asked to predict where each of his sons would be in five years.

After working with the counselor, the parents opened a dialog regarding working as partners and agreed that not intervening in their son’s behavior put both his and his younger brother’s future, and possibly lives, at risk. 

They were educated on realistic and age-appropriate expectations and how to implement consequences, and then they somewhat reluctantly instituted new family rules.

When their joint efforts met with success in solving their son’s truancy problem, they gained a great deal of confidence in themselves as parents.  They defined additional expectations and reported that they had new confidence in their parenting abilities that their home was much happier with less conflict and they no longer feared for their children’s future.

This is just one example of many that shows how the non-profit Youth and Family Counseling in Flower Mound turns lives around, benefitting both the individual and the community.

Youth and Family Counseling (formerly Greater Lewisville Youth and Family Services) has served the residents of Denton County since 1981 when the agency was founded to start one of the earliest First Offender Programs in the state, according to Dana Slater, executive director of the agency.

An independent study shows that 83% of youngsters are not arrested a second time if they are involved in the counseling program.

Counselors help area residents with all sorts of family issues, including parenting skills, depression, grief therapy, substance or alcohol abuse recovery, family therapy, single parent issues, anxiety disorders and more. Counseling is available to people at any income level.

Like any non-profit organization, Youth and Family Counseling relies on the public to support its mission, and you can help at an upcoming fundraiser.

You can’t lose your boots even if you gamble at the Cowboy Casino night set for Saturday, May 14th. All proceeds go to provide counseling to people who need help dealing with a variety of life issues but can’t afford the high price tag that often comes with getting professional help.

Those attending the event from 6:00-10:30 p.m. at Celebrations in Highland Village can expect a delicious dinner, silent auction, raffle items, a Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament, slot machines, and gaming tables such as roulette and blackjack.  Attire will be “Texas Chic.”  Tickets are $45, and all the money raised will go to Youth and Family Counseling.

Event chair Mandy Hensell, who is also on the non-profit’s board of directors, said the funds will help local families get counseling even if they can’t afford it.

“It’s to help kids and families in our own community, and we hope people will choose to support this agency,” she said. “So many youth are affected by issues like drugs and bullying, and they need help. We have a very small budget and we can’t afford advertising, but we want people to know we are here and help is available with fees on a sliding scale based on income.”

For an appointment or information about counseling, call the center at 972-724-2005. The office is located in Flower Mound behind the Tom Thumb on Main Street near Garden Ridge.

If you’d like to attend the Cowboy Casino night and help this organization, contact Hensell at 214-244-1886 or e-mail her at mandy.hensell@lpl.com.

To learn more about Youth and Family Counseling, visit www.youthandfamilycounseling.org.

Pictured above: The Youth & Family Counseling team includes (from left): Carole Waugh, board member; Francisco Aguayo, President; Mandy Hensell, Vice President/Event Chair; Dana Slater, Director; Avie Raburn, board member.

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