Active Minds Advisor Receives National Honor
Jennifer Showers looks after the mental well being of Alma College students. She is a therapist who loves her job.
“I listen to students,” she says. “I help them sort through their issues and get them back on life’s path. I have a great job. It’s not ever work for me to go to work.”
Active Minds Inc., a national organization that strives to educate and eliminate the stigma that surrounds mental health on college campuses, recently honored Showers with the Active Minds Advisor of the Year Award for her dedication and support of the Active Minds student chapter at Alma College.
Showers, a 1999 Alma College graduate and a licensed counselor at the Counseling and Wellness Center, helped launched the student organization at Alma College three years ago with 2011 graduate Marcy Gilstad and has been the advisor ever since. Between 20 and 30 students are involved in the group each year.
Alma College is one of the smallest colleges to have a chapter of Active Minds on its campus, but it also has one of the largest chapters.
“One of the biggest things that we do on campus that I think is most effective is displaying posters that say ‘take what you need,’” says Showers. “It might just be a smile, or courage, strength, perseverance, but it’s huge. We also bring in a speaker to the three local high schools to talk about suicide and suicide prevention.”
Active Minds is not a mental health group, but rather an educationally based student organization that educates students on mental health issues, says Showers.
“We do education on suicide prevention, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, depression and seasonal affective disorder,” she says. “We don’t deal with mental health issues; rather, we educate about them.”
Showers was honored at the annual Active Minds National Mental Health on Campus Conference last November in Orlando. The purpose of the conference was to recognize the role that students play in the well being of themselves and others, and to provide them the tools they need to help their peers speak openly about their problems.
“It has become a mainstay at our annual conference to recognize the hard work of chapters and advisors in our ever-expanding network,” states Alison Malmon, founder and executive director of Active Minds. “Each year it is increasingly difficult to choose the winners out of our hundreds of chapters and thousands of leaders. This year was no exception. I am thrilled to honor the exceptional contribution of Jennifer Showers to Active Minds.”
Out of 350 chapter advisors, Showers received the Advisor of the Year award after being nominated by Alma College Chapter President Kayla Roy.
“Jen doesn’t just take the advisor position as a label; she puts her heart and soul into this organization and expects her students to do the same,” Roy says.
Receiving the award was humbling, says Showers.
“You don’t realize the impact that you make on other people until it’s stated,” she says. “I’m a quiet advisor, I sit back and listen to the students brainstorm, and then I’ll give my thoughts on it. They lead the group, but I’m there as part of the group. I’m very actively involved, but it’s all done by the students.”
Posted: Wed, May 22nd, 2013 at 8:43AM