Counseling alumnus uses his education to help the homeless
Many students who finish the Master of Arts in Counseling program use their education to work in various mental health settings such as family counseling or resident care facilities. However, City University of Seattle alumnus, Eric Dodd, has been using his education to help people experiencing homelessness in Seattle, one person at a time.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in general psychology, Eric decided to pursue a post-baccalaureate certificate in teaching ESL and moved to Japan to teach English. “After I got back (from Japan) I went back to school for a couple of quarters to learn the Japanese language but decided against it.” With his background in education and psychology, Eric decided to go back for his master’s degree.
After choosing CityU, Eric said “I started out in the school counseling program and it was great and the professor I had was great but it was immediately obvious to me that it was going to be frustrating working in that field because you’re working with kids who are suffering and need guidance” and with many schools feeling budget pressures, it could be difficult to get the necessary resources. “By that point, I talked to a faculty member who said I could be working generally with people, and not necessarily with kids.”
That’s when Eric went to Michael Theisen, who, at that time was the director of CityU’s Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program. Eric said that Theisen told him, “If you can get your admissions materials into us in one week, we will consider your application because the deadline was coming up. I got on it and obtained three letters of recommendation, my application, and the other required materials and got into the program.”
Looking towards the future
Once Eric graduated from CityU’s MAC program, he went through a few different positions until he found the right job at Seattle’s Metropolitan Improvement District.
According to Eric, “Metropolitan Improvement District (MID) is part of the Downtown Seattle Association. MID has a clean team, a safety team, and an outreach team, and clean and safety work to keep the streets clean, direct visitors, do welfare checks on people who might be on the street, etc. Outreach specializes in going out into the community to connect with people experiencing homelessness downtown, and we help to get them connected to services like shelters, mental health treatment, and case management.”
When asked why he enjoys helping people, Eric simply said “I’ve always kind of gravitated to stuff like that.”
Although he is only one person, we believe that with the help of the MID and the Downtown Seattle Association, Eric will continue to make a difference in the lives of people in need.