St. Albans – When Don Jerome received a $600 stimulus check from the federal government earlier this year, he couldn’t imagine keeping the money for himself.
Instead of cashing it, the St. Albans resident asked Northwestern Counseling and Support Services (NCSS) to help him turn the check into a scholarship for a student seeking a career in mental health.
Bellows Free Academy – Street. An Albans graduate, Jerome has used a variety of different forms of NCSS support over the years and wanted to go above and beyond to show his gratitude to the people who helped him in his darkest time.
“This is someone who has struggled with his mental health, yet is aware of the fact that without people in the field to help people like him, there would be no care needed,” said Joe Halko, director of community relations at the NCSS. messenger.
After submitting and reviewing applications, Jerome and staff at NCSS selected Morgan Bourdeau, then a senior at BFA-St. Albans, as the scholarship recipient. She was presented with a check for $600 during the High School Awards Dinner in May.
“Morgan really moved him [Jerome]And I think that’s because what she said in her request was very much in line with where he thinks about the future of helping people,” Halko said.
Purdue is now in first year at St Michael’s College, where she majors in Psychology and a minor in English. She hopes to become a licensed physician and to return to St Albans to work at the National Center for Social Solidarity.
“I’ve always been very passionate about mental health,” she said. messenger. “I’ve had first-hand experiences with mental health and how helpful doctors and counseling and therapy are to people. I would really like to give that to someone else who might be suffering.”
When she was a senior at the BFA, Purdue interned with the NCSS through the Pathways in Human Services program hosted by the Northwest Career and Technical Center. Halko said the program began in 2018 to expose students to a variety of careers in mental health. Eleven students have participated in the program since then.
Purdue worked with Camp Rainbow, an NCSS summer program for children with autism or other developmental disabilities. I helped review applications and worked alongside in the office with Mary Hill, camp manager.
“I really have to get involved with Merry [Hill] And she understands her background and what she’s doing,” Bordeaux said.
At St. Mike this fall, Purdue completed an Introduction to Psychology course. She is looking forward to taking more specialized and advanced courses over the next few years.
As this was a one-time scholarship, Purdue said she was especially honored to be the recipient of the gift and is grateful for what she was allowed to do in college.
Halko was also almost speechless about Jerome’s generosity.
“In a world where so many people treat each other so rudely and badly, there is one individual who is really struggling and was willing to do that for a young man,” Halko said. “This is a whole other level of being generous.”