Article Published: 6/29/2023
The NBCC Foundation (NBCCF) proudly hosted the 2023 Bridging the Gap Symposium: Eliminating Mental Health Disparities on June 2–4 in Atlanta, Georgia.
The theme for this year’s event was From Awareness to Action, and was chosen to encourage counselors, counselor educators, and others in the profession increase their awareness and knowledge around the most pressing issues in the field of counseling and to find avenues to engage in actionable change.
Symposium attendees included over 500 counselors and counselors-in-training, including the NBCCF Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) awardees, who are master’s- and doctoral-level counseling students committed to working with underserved communities upon graduation. Attendees participated in a range of workshops and discussion groups, with 130 workshop presenters among 70 sessions offered. Presenters delivered action-oriented items for attendees to implement in their daily practices.
The MFP 10th anniversary celebration was a particularly momentous occasion, as we reminisced a decade of empowering individuals to pursue their academic dreams of becoming leaders in the counseling profession through networking and socializing with current and past MFP Fellows. During an interview with members of the inaugural MFP cohort of doctoral fellows, Dr. Michael Jones, who is also the current president-elect for the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES), shared that the celebration event felt like “a homecoming.” He went on to say that being a part of the MFP and getting to grow and collaborate over the years with his cohort members has been “one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had since I’ve been in this profession.”
We were fortunate to be joined by five counseling legends, each having made a profound impact on the counseling profession throughout their academic and professional careers. Attendees were enlightened and inspired by Dr. S. Kent Butler, Jr., Dr. Thomas A. Parham, Dr. Thelma Thomas Daley, Dr. Courtland Lee, and Dr. Beverly O’Bryant.
The ensuing connections and mentorship at Symposium were palpable. “Our goal at Symposium is to connect fellows and all attendees and show them just how important their work is to the counseling profession,” said Isabel Gomez, Vice President of Foundation and Professional Services. “We left with a renewed sense of confidence, purpose, and forward momentum.”
Since the inaugural Bridging the Gap Symposium in 2015, the event continues to grow each year and provide expanded learning, networking, and collaboration opportunities for counselors, counselor educators, numerous counselors-in-training, and many other mental health professionals. Stay tuned to NBCC communications for information on the 2024 event, including the call for presentations opening soon.
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