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Fraser Center opening up to aid in fundraising

Tours show what counseling accomplishes

POSTED: April 3, 2009 10:03 a.m.
Photo by Alena Parker/

Dr. Alan Baroody, director of the center, talks to people taking one of the tours.

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After Mary Caraballo received the encouragement and confidence from the Fraser Counseling Center that she needed to leave her abusive marriage to an alcoholic, she said the help proved priceless.  
On March 26, Caraballo, now a staffer at the center, tried to repay the favor when she spoke during a facility tour.
“I didn’t realize how all those years of living in that kind of turmoil had affected me,” Caraballo said. “What I received here is priceless.”
In order for the Fraser Center to assist more people like Caraballo, Liberty County resident Judy Carter wants to make sure it will able to meet clients’ needs.
Carter is coordinating a “Friends of Fraser” fundraiser luncheon April 22. In the meantime, Carter said, center tours can provide information for interested parties and help raise community awareness.
“A lot of people don’t understand and know all the Fraser Center covers in the way of service [and] offers to community,” Carter said.
“We don’t want this to be the best-kept secret anymore,” said Sherry Somerville, daughter of Dr. Whit and Mary Lou Fraser, the center’s namesakes.
During tours, the public can listen and ask questions about the center’s services and professional staffers while viewing different offices.
Amy Perkins-Murphy, a Fraser Center staffer, does child and marriage counseling.
“Sometimes it’s hard, I think, for people to get in the door,” Perkins said. “They don’t know what counseling is or what it means.”
People don’t have to be absolutely down and out before getting professional help, according to clinical coordinator Teresa Winn, who leads the substance-abuse program.
She said she thinks that is one of the myths that holds people back.
“What we’re hoping is to help people before all that tragedy happens in their life, before they hit rock-bottom,” Winn said. “Because that’s a lot of devastation that happens in lives before rock-bottom occurs.”
Five free therapy sessions are available to employees of businesses who participate in the employee-assistance program.
“Businesses understand that if life gets out of balance at home, it’s going to impact the work environment,” explained Greg Loskoski, the center’s employee assistance coordinator.
Businesses also can become certified drug-free workplaces, qualifying them for a 7.5 percent discount on worker’s compensation insurance premiums.
Dr. Alan Baroody, the center’s executive director, said, “If you had to go away with one thing, it would be spread the word about us. Please take what you learn and share it with the community because that’s important to us.”
 The center accepts all insurance and allows payments on a sliding scale, in keeping with Dr. Whit Fraser’s dream to offer counseling, regardless of a client’s ability to pay.
“It’s up to those who know to tell others,” Sommerville said. “I think if he were here today, he would say pass it on.”
 

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