Success in the LEARN Program

The Mental Health Association in Southwestern New Jersey (MHASWNJ) has many programs to assist persons living with a mental illness who are pursuing their employment and educational goals.  One such program is LEARN that is a supported education program meant to assist those who are pursuing their education past high school. Anna Fithian is an education specialist in the LEARN Program.  Anna has worked with Christine, one of our shining examples of the supported education program, for a number of years. Christine didn’t know what an education specialist was when she signed up for a school psychological survey.  She didn’t know what she was getting into when she agreed to have an education specialist assist her in pursuing her college degree. Now, she says it was one of the best decisions of her life. Christine began her college career in 2008 and was working toward her associate’s degree. She was interested in psychology and counseling and she knew she wanted to become a licensed professional counselor or LPC. Christine has many challenges that she had to overcome ranging from RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, ADHD, and Depression. Christine receives treatment for her disabilities and manages them daily with medication and therapy.

Anna and Christine mapped out a unique plan to aid her in reaching her goals. They met once a week during each semester that Christine attended classes and Anna taught her how to register for classes, how to access her classes online, linked her to support services at the college, and how to manage her time and prioritize assignments while also providing support, encouragement and coping skills along the way.  Christine achieved a 3.75 GPA and was inducted in the Kappa Delta Pi honor society. In 2010 Christine obtained her Associate’s Degree from Camden County College in psychology and went on to pursue her bachelor's degree at Rowan University. In 2015 she graduated from Rowan with her Bachelor’s in Psychology. In 2017, Anna and Christine started working together again to help Christine obtain her master’s degree. With Anna by her side and her caring attitude, Christine is almost finished her master’s and will find her dream job of assisting patients who need mental health counseling services.  

Christine is such a wonderful example of the supportive services offered by The MHASWNJ.  If you or someone you know of needs supported services, call us at 856-522-0639.

Kelli Cochran