December 14, 2012 | Back to: News

'We're All Ears' counseling receives TTCF grant

TRUCKEE, Calif. - Sierra Agape Center's "We're All Ears" program has received a $5,000 grant from the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation to fund its peer counseling and support service to the community. They are pleased and grateful for the support which enables them to offer training and ongoing education for volunteers.

Sierra Agape Center's "We're All Ears," is a Listening Partners program based in the work of Mary Field Belenky. Her recent work in communities where oppression, silencing and marginalization have disempowered people for generations is chronicled in her book, "A Tradition that has No Name."

Sierra Agape's "We're All Ears" program is a free service for anyone seeking a non-judgmental listening ear. This program meets a growing need in the region for those who need supportive mentorship, counseling, linkage with other resources, and advocacy or support when attending medical appointments or court appearances. Listening Partners are volunteers who receive 30 hours of training in the art of listening, community resource linkage and advocacy and crisis intervention.

How to access We're All Ears

We're All Ears services are now available on a walk-in basis at The Food Resource Center at 11011 E St. in Truckee on Thursdays from noon until 3 p.m. Appointments are also available by calling 530-414-5832. Listening Partners are available to meet with clients either at this location or out in the community.

Are peer counselors under professional supervision?

We provide volunteers with weekly clinical supervision with a licensed MFT and will offer ongoing continuing education opportunities for volunteers.

What is the need for such a program?

Sierra Agape Center is aware of the growing need in the region for counseling, supportive mentorship and resource linkage and that the cost of insurance and private therapy is prohibitive for many. Only two agencies provide service at reduced rates, Sierra Mental Wellness in Tahoe City, which offers a sliding fee and Sierra Agape Center in Truckee which offers service on a donation basis. Many families and individuals are living on the edge, a situation they find terrifying and humiliating many respond by isolating and/or abusing substances.

Peer counseling programs like We're All Ears Listening Partners are vital adjuncts for county mental health professionals whose clients need interim support, and are becoming increasingly important for law enforcement who often encounter individuals in need of compassionate intervention and linkage with resources. Peer counseling is the future of mental well-being and a model program has been developed in this area.

For more information visit www.sierraagape.org.

About Sierra Agape Center

Sierra Agape Center was founded by Kimball C. Pier, LMFT in May of 2010 in response to a growing need for a welcoming place to find healing or navigate through the challenges of life. Their mission is to continually create accessible opportunities and services in response to the needs of the community in a way that does not define the problems of life as mental illness, but considers each person's potential and insight with a focus on the relationship between mind, body, soul and spirit. They offer holistic therapeutic services based in the Buddhist Paramita or tradition of Dana (pronounced dah-nah), which means to cultivate generosity. They believe services offered to clients on a donation basis empowers clients to decide what they can afford and how valuable they feel the service is to them.

In providing holistic therapeutic services and consultation in the Buddhist tradition of dana, Sierra Agape Center's vision is to contribute to changing the face of health care and wellness services so that services are accessible to anyone in need. Psychology has been practiced as a branch of Western or allopathic medicine for since its beginnings, however, much of what is defined as "illness" or "disease," can be approached with a much broader scope and re-defined in more holistic, and non-medicalized terms. Sierra Agape's approach to problems with life and relationships includes exploring all domains of a person's spiritual and physical life and then working with clients to enliven the body, soul and spirit with creative approaches including yoga and meditation. They believe people deserve to receive care in a non-threatening, non-judgmental and loving manner.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Dec 14, 2012 03:30PM Published Dec 14, 2012 03:28PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.