Yolanda Schmidt became a single parent to her 16-month-old daughter after the death of her husband 18 years ago. Her participation in a bereavement support group has lead to her interest in the field of Thantology (the description or study of the phenomena of death and of psychological mechanisms for coping with them) and bereavement counseling. She wants this to be her life's work, to help others as she and her daughter were helped in learning how to cope with the pain and loss of a husband and father. Yolanda wants to set an example for her daughter by rising above her own grief to help others. She volunteered as a bereavement facilitator for the Archdiocese of NY and Newark where she organized and lead a very successful grief counseling program for 6 years. Yolanda is now a part time student majoring in Psychology. She recently graduated with her Associates degree. While she had the drive and the motivation to return to school, she had to work full time to take care of herself and her daughter and could only afford to take one class at night each semester. It took her 9 years to get her AA degree once again setting an example of what can be accomplished through perseverance. But Yolanda says that no matter how long it takes, she is determined to earn a Bachelor's degree and then a Masters degree in Counseling to realize her dream of becoming a certified bereavement counselor. She currently volunteers at Hearts & Crafts Counseling Center in Ramsey, NH, a center for children to cope with loss through the use of art therapy.
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