GREENVILLE — Newly appointed director for the Community Hope Counseling Center Diane Hansen believes in helping people.
Throughout her time counseling at Community Hope, she has always advocated for patient care and raising emotional health awareness. As director, she is looking forward to increasing the center’s presence in the community and connecting more people with counselors able to help them.
“I’d really like to find out from the community what needs to be done so that we can try to meet those needs,” Hansen said.
Hansen has worked at the center for the past five years as a limited licensed counselor and was chosen for the position when former director John Pellet chose to semi-retire. Previous to her work at Community Hope, Hansen was the director for the Montcalm County Commission on Aging. She was also the in-home counselor for the juvenile courts in Ionia County and Montcalm County prior to her appointment as director, and continues to do so during the transition period.
“(Hansen) is experienced. She has held all the other positions she’ll be overseeing. She’s got a heart for the service and helping people but she’ll have the experience and knowledge. Those were some key factors in deciding to choose her for the position,” Kelly said.
Community Hope offers a variety of counseling services, and works with both individuals and groups with several different payment options.
“We have a sliding scale that starts at $40 an hour per an hour session which is a great deal. In Grand Rapids, you might pay $100-$150 a session,” Darcia Kelly, board chairwoman for Community Hope. “If a person can’t afford that, we have something we call the hope fund which uses donations. We do a lot of fundraising to help with that.”
They offer family, premarital, marriage and substance abuse counseling in addition to other services. The center also offers service to those in the Montcalm County Jail system as well as the probationary system.
“There are a lot of different areas we hit in trying to meet the needs of the community,” Hansen said.
In an effort to establish a firmer presence in the community, Hansen and Kelly both hope to establish partnerships with local businesses and several more local churches. They work closely in their existing partnerships with pastors to help churchgoers have access to affordable counseling services and in exchange, churches contribute to the centers funds, such as the hope fund.
Both Hansen and Kelly stressed the inclusivity of the center, despite being a faith based organization.
“We’re open to anybody. Our door is open to people. We are just here to meet the needs of the community. We would not close our doors to anyone,” Hansen said. Part of their mission, she said, is to offer help to all who need it.
“I think the Christian part in particular is demonstrated by how we are trying to help people of all income levels. At a lot of counseling places, if you don’t have insurance, you have to pay big bucks. We feel that’s part of our ministry as a Christian counseling agency.”
Correspondent Emilee Andrews is a Greenville-area resident.