Ashley VandeKopple, Female Counselor
It’s a blessing and an honor to be the middle and high school female counselor. My own story in public schools was that of struggle and sin. By the grace of God, I attended a Christian university where I claimed my faith and dedicated my life to Him. Through my experiences, God has given me a testimony to impact teenage girls and their world for Christ. I have walked the same path and therefore I can relate to them. I want to help guide them in their spiritual, personal, social, emotional, and future plans.
In carrying out the mission mandate, “Go and make disciples…” (Matt. 28: 18-20), my role as counselor is to prepare our middle and high school students for their future. Middle school students are learning about who they are, what their interests are, their spiritual gifts, talents and abilities. When they enter their freshman year of high school, it’s important to start discussing their future as adults. Whether toward college or the workplace, this is a unique and fun opportunity for me to help them with decisions to follow God’s plan for their life. We will look together at their grades, their interests, their preferences and come up with a plan to achieve their goals. Although these goals may change, I want to help these girls strengthen their relationship with Christ and lead others to Him.
A large part of the counseling role is to help teens grow in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ throughout their entire school career. The love mandate, first instructs us to “Love the Lord your God” and then to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-38). It is important to have an awe and reverence for our God – to truly understand the ultimate sacrifice He made for us. If students can understand this love, then they can learn to love one another. The middle and high school years are learning to interact socially with peers and adults. As a school counselor, I intend to help them respect themselves and others, understand social cues, and communicate with one another, clearly and truthfully.
The image mandate is the cornerstone of all services offered by a school counselor. Right at creation, God said, “Let us make man in our image…be fruitful. Fill the earth…subdue it …rule over every living creature… (Gen. 1:26,28). Through middle and high school, students are learning who God created them to be, identifying what their strengths and weaknesses are academically, emotionally and socially. It is also important for students to understand sin and how their sinful nature can impact their decisions and actions. I want to be responsive to them when an issue arises, through individual student planning, and in completing college applications. Students need to learn how to integrate their faith into their everyday lives.
I will pray for our students that they will understand and know God’s love and purpose for their lives. My theme will be, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).