Dr. Patrice Moulton – Sparky’s Galaxy All-Star Hall of Fame

This past week, I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Patrice Moulton – my first professional mentor – at the American Counseling Association (ACA) Conference. I first met her in 2007 at the (ACA) in Detroit, Michigan. From that meeting, Dr. Moulton’s kind and generous actions led to me nominating her that year for the ACA David K. Brooks, Jr. Distinguished Mentor Award. Although she did not win the award, her kind and generous actions remain in my heart and I feel compelled to share them with you – parts of which have been described below:

Throughout my graduate courses, instructors and students alike indicated that in order to be an effective counselor, “You need to meet them where they are.” Its importance was stressed in nearly every graduate class, almost as if a mantra has been established, “You need to meet them where they are.”

I had been working at a juvenile court system and believed that prevention was key in treating children and was divinely inspired with a story, Sparky Tales. My graduate studies began after years of accumulating rejecting letters from publishers as I believed that having credentials added to my name would increase my chances of having the materials published. So when I discovered that the ACA conference in Detroit was offering a workshop entitled, “Is there a book within you to be written? Gerald Corey and Colleagues,” I knew I had to attend and attend I did.

Like a baseball fan seeking the action, I sat in the front row. Not too long after I was seated, Patrice Moulton approached me and said, “You have a nice aura about you.” For a split second, I wanted to turn my head to see if she was looking at the person behind me but caught her gaze. Wow, she’s talking to me! I beamed. I felt empowered. I felt lifted. I don’t remember who said what next but remember floating out of the workshop; calling my husband and hearing him say “slow down, back up, what happened?”

In my hotel room that evening, I reviewed all the materials from the various workshops and particularly that from the Gerald Corey and Colleagues workshop. I carefully read Patrice Moulton’s handout outlining key concepts: Write what you know, Write what you love… Visualize achievement – personalize and Find someone to believe in you – let them help. I re-read the last line Find someone to believe in you – let them help. Since Patrice Moulton had reached out to me, I planned to reach out to her the next day at a workshop being held exclusively for graduate students by Gerald Corey and his Colleagues.

Armed with my bibliotherapy, curriculum, thesis and proposal, along with my new sense of courage, I approached Patrice. As she looked through my work, she was very receptive and offered suggestions and encouragement.

Both during and after the conference, Patrice has been helpful and generous to me by sharing her ideas, suggestions and time. At some point in time during one of our discussions, Patrice suggested that since I had won a local scholarship for my work that I needed to present at a state conference. I followed her suggestion, wrote a proposal to the All Ohio Counselor’s Conference in Columbus, which was accepted and scheduled for November 2, 2007.

At this same time I received a call from a publisher who “loved” my materials. She indicated that my proposal would be forwarded to her review board but believed it would be accepted. During the conversation I mentioned that I had met Patrice Moulton at the ACA Conference and that Patrice had liked my materials, as if I was saying, “Patrice believes in me!”

The publisher’s staff made plans to attend my presentation in Columbus in November. Additionally, the publisher and Patrice were exploring the possibility of obtaining Patrice’s endorsement for my materials but had not been unable to connect via the phone. Consequently, Patrice offered to fly from Louisiana to Ohio to meet the publisher at my presentation! I couldn’t believe it! Once again, I felt lifted. I felt empowered. My eyes swelled with tears as her generosity sunk in. I was honored.

The publisher’s review board decided my materials were not age appropriate for their firm. Of course, I was disappointed but Patrice’s support and belief in me suspended my disappointment.

I can imagine Patrice Moulton’s mantra is not “You’ve got to meet them where they are,” but something like, “You’ve got to meet them where they can be.” In essence, Dr. Patrice Moulton’s belief in me has been like a suspension bridge, expanding and suspending my belief in myself as well as the merit of my program. “You’ve got to meet them where they can be.” That spirit embodies Dr. Patrice Moulton and that spirit has embraced and suspended me.

So I am honored and pleased to induct Dr. Patrice Moulton into Sparky’s Galaxy All-Star Hall of Fame. Dr. Moulton leads by her actions and wholeheartedly reflects the invaluable influence of a professional mentor. She not only meets people where they are, but meets people where they can be. And for that, I am truly grateful!


About Tina Donovan

Tina Donovan, M.Ed., PC has dedicated her life both professionally and personally to improving the lives of children. From volunteering as a youth leader to developing a non-profit youth organization, her focus has been on providing opportunities to children enabling them to discover and develop their own unique talents.

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