Sneakers and Mental Health

Sneakers and Mental Health

Do you have sneakers/cleats you no longer wear or that just never felt comfortable?  Want to avoid adding to our exploding landfills?  Would you like to help provide excellent mental health care to your neighbors? 

Have we got an easy plan for you!  Drop those shoes off at one of two locations during the month of May.  When we turn them in to the agency that collects them, we will receive a small payment for each shoe (every little bit adds up!) that will be added to our scholarship fund.

Drop off locations are:

  1. Firefly Yoga Studio (Ocoee location)

Mondays between 8:15am and 6:15pm

Tuesdays & Thursdays between 6:15am and 7:30pm

Wednesdays between 9:45am and 6:15pm

Fridays between 9:45am and noon

Saturdays between 8:15am and 9:45am

Shoe contributors will receive a coupon for one free class (Limit one coupon per person)

2. Joy Performing Arts in Oviedo

Mondays – Thursdays between 11am and 8pm

Saturdays between 9am and 1:30pm

(Closed memorial day weekend Friday-Monday

Shoe contributors will receive a coupon for one free class (Limit one coupon per person)

If you’ve been following us for any length of time, you know that as a team, we are passionate about service.  Not only do we get hands on in the community, but as a company – we maintain our commitment to service through: 1) Each counselor keeping one client spot dedicated to a person who pays what they can afford.  In this case, the counselor & practice absorb the financial loss.  2) A percentage of net profit is ear-marked for a scholarship fund that will enable recipients to obtain therapy at whatever fee they can pay.  The difference between their payment and the counselor’s fee will be drawn from the scholarship fund.

2020 didn’t go according to plan when it came to reaching our fund goal but we are on track to start disbursing in July of this year!!  To help the process along, we brainstormed ideas for fund raising and came across this sneaker idea which we love because it’s a win-win: not only do we generate funds but we also contribute to good stewardship of the planet.

We have had supporters offer to donate directly to this fund once they heard about it but we had not set up a way to make this happen.  Now we have a link!!  Please know that Phenix is not a 501c3 organization.  With the tax law changes in 2018 which effectively made itemized deductions no longer worthwhile for the average taxpayer – we cannot justify the cost of setting up a non-profit organization for the scholarship fund.  We would rather put every penny directly into covering counselor fees…  That said, if you would like to donate directly to the scholarship fund – just click the link below.  We have set it up to clearly mark the transaction as a fund donation so it is allocated correctly.


Service…it’s who we are!

How did we end up in downtown Orlando, in the oppressive heat during the middle of a pandemic?

Well.  Phenix Counseling was founded with a commitment to service.  While we recognize the value of the knowledge and skill we bring to the table, expecting that the worker is worthy of their wage, we have always been mindful of the fact that access to quality mental health care is a major problem.  In response, Phenix committed to funneling 10% of profits into a scholarship fund to provide care to those who cannot afford it.  Our regular fees were set to make services accessible to working individuals and in the future, student interns will be acquired to provide quality care for even less.  Additionally, every Phenix counselor always maintains one community client who pays only what they can afford – as their way of giving back.  However, when COVID blasted on to the scene a mere three months after the group practice launch, our grand philanthropy plans had to be set aside as the financial focus became simply survival.  Still….our hearts broke as we looked around at the fallout and wondered what we could do to be there for our community.  Despite our own personal financial fears, all three of us agreed to set aside our fees for one week (March 8th – 14th) to go toward a special COVID fund that would be utilized to assist community recovery once the stay at home order was lifted.  Justin had visions of handing out food…I thought perhaps gas cards to help folks drive back to work after prolonged furlough.  As everyone knows, things have not been that simple.  Here it is July and the virus has not lifted.  In fact, the numbers are worse than ever.  That magical moment of “getting back to normal” has not arrived.  I began to ponder what we should do with the money we had earmarked.

It was during that questioning when I came across this video:

I knew Eric!  He was the sweet young man who had contacted me a couple of weeks before I left for Greece last year because he wanted to surprise my student with a proposal 🙂 .  I also knew of the organization he led and the good work they did.  Something clicked.  Here was a mission we could be confident supporting.  We are holistic providers; we don’t just attend to our clients’ mental health.  We recognize that everything is connected: body, soul, spirit.  That’s why Justin does adventure therapy which provides physical challenges, Caitlin utilizes dance and I am currently finishing up a certification in yoga.  What better alignment with our commitment than to contribute to the basic physical needs which directly affect a person’s mental and emotional health?  I brought the idea to the team and they enthusiastically agreed…but I felt convicted that this wasn’t just to be a monetary thing.  Justin had challenged us from the very beginning to be “boots on the ground” in our community and SALT was calling out for volunteers.  So, with no small amount of discomfort, we signed up to serve.  We have minimized excursions and worn masks consistently throughout the debates.  It was intimidating to consider serving a population who could reasonably be expected to have COVID exposure.  But if everyone was hindered by that concern, then who would serve?  How would they get the care they so desperately needed?  Once again, our decision to go fully virtual was a blessing as we could confidently take on this mission without the concern that our clients might be negatively impacted.

That’s how we ended up in the Florida heat on July 5th, organizing clothes for handing out to friends (what SALT calls the folks living in homelessness who show up), taking requests for clothing needs/sizes, talking with these friends and managing the inevitable conflicts brought on by heat and emotional/mental distress.   I cannot recommend this mission enough!  It is sobering to think about how exhausting it was to handle four hours of serving downtown while our new friends live in its elements

Therapy is an investment.  For many, it is an investment made with sacrifice.  We think it is important for Phenix friends to know that when you invest in your health with us, not only do you (and the loved ones connected to you) benefit, but your community benefits as well through our commitment to pay it forward!

If you would like to follow our lead, SALT is always in need of volunteers.  You need no special skill or talent (though barbers/hairstylists are sorely needed)…just a willingness to show love.  If you want to be of help but have health vulnerabilities – consider preparing lunch for the friends and volunteers and simply dropping it off on one of the service days.

Here’s the link for info about volunteering

Here’s the link for info about providing a meal