HSU Clinical Counseling and Marriage & Family Graduate Program travels to New York and Ireland

May 31, 2019 Felicity Neptune, Staff Writer

(ABILENE, Texas)–Eight graduate students from The Clinical Counseling and Marriage & Family Program recently returned from a travel course entitled Counseling Diverse Populations. This course was designed as a mission trip where the students traveled to New York and Ireland to study the diverse culture and work with RIOT Ministries counseling underprivileged youth.

Beginning in New York, the class visited Little Italy, Chinatown, and even a Messianic Jewish church to witness the different cultural experiences by talking with others, trying new foods, and observing the different customs. “During the course, I had the opportunity to discover and learn more about the different cultures; to put what you read from books into action!! The adventure was a lifetime experience and full of memories that were formed,” said Tillie McGuire. “Also, during that time frame, I experienced personal and professional growth. This world isn’t meant to be a cookie cutter world so to take the time and learn more about the different cultures that are around you.”

Immediately following their visit to New York, the students traveled to Northern Ireland where they teamed up with RIOT Ministries and worked with underprivileged and high-risk youth. RIOT is a non-profit charity aimed at making the community of Northern Ireland a safe space for kids of all ages. This is done through weekly activities at the RIOT House, as well as group retreats, and the combined efforts of visiting mission teams, backpackers, and other tourists. All proceeds fund the Youth Center and its programs.

Throughout their time working with RIOT, the graduate students built relationships with the youth by sharing testimonies and playing various games ranging from football (soccer) to singing songs from High School Musical. “I would just like to say that the trip was life-changing,” said Brionna O’Donald. “The relationships we made with the youth and volunteers at RIOT will last forever. I was truly blessed to be a part of it. I look forward to going back very soon, possibly as an intern!”