APPLETON (NBC 26) — The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Cities is working on an expansion that it hopes will increase its services, and be able to offer resources to more people in need. Dr. Tracey Sieber is a psychologist with Samaritan and said the current building is very outdated.
"We would like to be able to move to another space that would more adequately serve our clients and our staff members," said Dr. Sieber.
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They're able to do this with a grant given by Mary Beth Nienhaus, who generously donated $250,000 to match dollar-for-dollar.
“She's a former educator, 33 years in the Appleton Area School District," said Jane Frantz, Director of Development and Communications for Samaritan. "[She's] really a big believer in youth mental health and understands the critical needs today, especially having endured COVID. She just really loves our programs and our vision and wanted to help us out.”
Frantz said it's the largest donation the agency has ever received, and it's necessary, especially since the old location was small and not ADA compliant.
“This new facility is twice the size. It allows us to expand our counseling offices by five or six," said Frantz. "We have a dedicated play space for our kids. A lot of times kids will talk through their issues through play, so you can't get them to talk otherwise. But if you can play a game or play with a toy, then they start talking about what's going on.”
So, why give and support agencies like Samaritan? Specifically, Samaritan serves 40% of its clients who are on low income.
"If they didn't have us, they really wouldn't be served, and that's frightening to me to know that there are people in the community who need services who can't access them, because they can't afford them," said Frantz. "We are that space for them."
But Dr. Sieber said there are other ways to support your local mental health agency; everything from participating in local fundraisers, like suicide awareness walks, or even just being there for someone in need.
"I see people, just, being really more in line with caring for themselves in our community," said Dr. Sieber. "They'll cut people off in traffic, things like that. And I'm thinking, you know what, we're all in this together. We're all in this world together and to just be able to be more kind and caring to your fellow human beings is helpful too.”
You can contact Samaritan by phone (920)-886-9319 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.