"This one seemingly small program can make a huge difference school wide. There is a ripple effect and although she may not see all 2,000 kids and she doesn't see all 2,000 kids, she's a part of the fabric here and the kids know that," said Shari Shapiro, Executive Director of Kids in Crisis.
For the past three years Mariangela Carr has been the TeenTalk Counselor at Brien McMahon High School. But this year, administrators at McMahon are concerned funding may not be available to keep Carr in the school the entire year.
"Problems don't go away come January," said Suzanne Koroshetz, Principal of Brien McMahon High School.
"A TeenTalk Counselor is a licensed clinician that is additional support to what the school already has in place. We are a 100% student centered counseling service," said Carr.
The TeenTalk program offered by Kids in Crisis provides an additional support system for students dealing with a wide range of issues.
"The program is really a partnership with the schools. Every school has its own culture and personality and so the TeenTalk program is a little bit different in each school based on what their needs are. It's a true partnership because for our kids to be able to learn academically and to really succeed, they have to healthy in all ways,"said Shapiro.
"I want the students to leave with a positive feeling of what counseling can be. I want them to feel like the can engage openly with me because it is such a short period of time and then if they need to utilize support later on downt the road, I want that to be positive," added Carr.
Counselors are available in 5 Fairfield County towns already. Most recently, Greenwich approved budget items to ensure funding for the counselor in Western Middle School and Central Middle School.
Koroshetz said, "There is just a lot of stress on kids. I think it's very very hard to be a teenager today. Why Mariangela is great is she doesn't just fix them after one visit and they are done. It is the continuity of care that so incredibly important."
Carr will begin the year at Brien McMahon with partial funding in place.
"We can't walk away from the kids. The kids are expecting it, they need it and they want it. We will continue to pound the pavement to find the remaining funds. We need about $45,000 more to keep the program going for the full school year," said Shapiro.