Sisters’ counseling center prepares for 30th anniversary

November 7, 2010 by

Sister Faye Huelsmann, right, talks with Sister Pat Lewter, center, and CEC board member Pam Gardner at the HeArt for the Community fundraiser in October. The event raised more than $5,500 for CEC's low-income counseling services.

When Sisters Faye Heulsmann and Pat Lewter opened their home in 1981 to serve those with little access to professional counseling, they may not have realized they were beginning what 30 years later would be a vital community agency in Grand Junction, Colo.

As the Counseling and Education Center that grew out of the effort by the two Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary, the staff sends its thanks to the congregation for contributing to the CEC’s success.

Executive Director Penny Frankhouser credited “the perseverance of these two sisters” with the agency’s longevity and impact on the community. Today CEC serves more than 600 clients a year.

And, Frankhouser said, Sisters Faye and Pat continue to be a vibrant part of the agency, providing counseling services to children, individuals, and adolescent.  Sister Faye provides play therapy to very young children, and is considered an expert in her field. Sister Pat not only provides counseling at CEC, with her expertise working with troubled adolescents, but she is also a part-time school counselor at the Holy Family Catholic School.

In 1995, the CEC structure was changed, so it now has a community board made up of 11 business owners, professionals and members of the faith community in Grand Junction.

The board remains dedicated to the center’s primary mission: “Providing affordable professional counseling to families and individuals in need.”

Today CEC has a staff of more than 15 and an annual budget of nearly $250,000.

And, Frankhouser said, the need for affordable professional counseling remains as great; many Mesa County residents have been hit hard by the recently declining natural gas industry and widespread national economic instability.

With the guidance of Sisters Pat and Faye, the CEC has created a community of professional staff who believe in CEC’s core values: Affordability, dedication, meeting emotional needs and community.



9 Responses to “Sisters’ counseling center prepares for 30th anniversary”

  1. Mary Fran Simons on November 18th, 2010 1:49 pm

    Congratulations, dear Pat and Faye. What a wonderful service to so many. Congratulations to CEC, the staff and all connected with this work.

    I am so proud of you–your loving presence, your blood, sweat and tears poured into this work. I am so proud that you are part of us, CSJ’s of Concordia, KS. Love you.

  2. Diane Brin on November 16th, 2010 3:50 pm

    Faye and Pat!! You did it–30 years is quite a feat. Congratulations. Am so proud of you and all your folks who continue to be servants of servants with all the people of Grand Junction and your entire service area. Thanks for the many years of dedicated presence.
    Love and peace,

  3. Beth Stover on November 15th, 2010 4:44 pm

    Congratulations, Pat and Faye, on your 30 years of presence with the Grand Junction community. You are certainly pioneers on the frontier. You have the stamina, the zeal, and the heart to meet the needs of the “dear neighbor”. I truly am in awe of your dedication and commitment.
    I so enjoyed our short visits during the Assembly days. Hope you arrived home safely without too much trouble over the mountain passes.
    Wishing you peace and a promise of prayer and love.

  4. Loretta Jasper on November 10th, 2010 6:03 pm

    Thank you so much for sustaining the life and longevity of CEC these 30 years. A great testimony of “sleeves rolled up” service to the dear neighbor.

  5. Marcia Allen on November 9th, 2010 10:28 am

    Congratulations, Faye and Pat! The longevity of the “project” speaks for itself as well as for you. Thank you for being the CSJ presence there on the western slope. You’ve created a community of friends who carry on your spirit of caring for those with special needs. Best wishes for continued success.

  6. Missy Ljungdahl on November 8th, 2010 7:17 pm

    Wow, what a great event..and what GREAT people. Congratulations!
    May people continue to benefit from all the good intentions offered through CEC.

  7. Missy Ljungdahl on November 8th, 2010 7:16 pm

    Wow, what a great event..and what GREAT people. Congratulations!

  8. Jean Befort on November 7th, 2010 9:25 pm

    Congratulations Pat & Faye, on your 30 years of dedicated service to the people of Grand Junction (Mesa Co), and I’m sure way beyond!

    You have hung in there through thick and thin!!! I rejoice with you, and pray for you and all your staff and clients, and all who have helped to make CEC the great support it is to so many people!

    May you continue to know the success and support through many more years! God bless you!

  9. Jodi Creten on November 7th, 2010 4:05 pm

    Congrats, Faye and Pat, and CEC, for your many years of dedicated professional services to those in need. Where did the time go? Can it be thirty years already?!

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