What started as a dream turned into a thriving private practice. After working in almost every type of setting in mental health, we found ourselves drawn to and passionate about school-based counseling. We soon developed a different vision...a vision of a better, more comprehensive and dynamic model that would close the gaps in school-based mental health services.
With overwhelming extremes of both fear and excitement, we set off to build our practice: an innovative model ensuring a full time therapist in every school building who functions as part of the multidisciplinary school team, designed to empower and support kids and families.
We were tired of the everywhere and nowhere “factory” model. How would one therapist serving 5-10 schools help anyone? This model would not effectively help kids and it would definitely not help schools. Plus, the therapist would be lucky to be standing by the end of the week. We envisioned a model rooted in quality and holistic health. Quality not only for students and schools by providing accessible, convenient, and cutting edge interventions right within school buildings, but quality for the helpers too. We dreamed of building an organization that values the holistic health of therapists so that the helpers feel energized and revitalized in a field that can be overwhelming and demanding.
Although we didn’t know it at the time, we got the most influential and accurate advice before we even started. A wise business owner said it best, “Always have a Plan B because Plan A won’t work out” and “Don’t let anyone tell you no...ever. If you hear the word no, you turn that no into a yes. Don’t stop until you make it happen.” We’ve lived by these words.
We’re probably on plan D by now and we have been told no or told we couldn’t do something too many times to count. We were told that we wouldn’t be successful, that certain insurance companies were closed to new providers (Yeah, that’s not gonna work. We’ve got kids to help!). When we hear the word no, we have learned to smile and rev up some energy. To us, no means GO TIME!!! We’ve also learned (which is no surprise to anyone who knows us) we love to fight: fighting to remove barriers to kids and families accessing services, fighting for quality services for schools, and fighting for our team and for each other.
We owe Edgewood and Russ Fussnecker, Superintendent, a huge thank you for giving us a chance and for believing in us when we showed up with nothing more than a brochure, a website, and an energetic and passionate vision for the future. We’ll always know Edgewood as our forever home! As the need for mental health therapy is critical everywhere, we grew to keep up with pleas for help. We didn’t want to turn away kids or schools in desperate need of quality mental health services. We found purpose and a drive to help the community and our school districts from both a macro and micro level.
Because of growth, we met several incredibly talented therapists that thankfully chose to join our team and hustle with us for the mission. Through the shared fight for the community, several charismatic and influential leaders developed at Catalyst. We believe in identifying our therapists’ strengths and individualized talents/passions and empowering leaders. We’re blown away by the passion, ethics, hustle, and skill of the Catalyst team we have surrounding us.
After 4 years, we are now proudly serving 10 school districts in the greater Cincinnati and Dayton area. We have over 60 incredibly talented therapists and an amazing administrative team serving as the backbone of our organization. Our growth could not be possible without the combined innovation and efforts of our amazing team. Our services have expanded from providing school-based therapy to providing home-based services, traveling nurse practitioner services, as well as a training program for therapists and schools. We’re super excited to announce the grand opening of our first outpatient office as we purchased our first commercial property in Olde West Chester in June of 2019!
We’ve learned to get comfortable with and embrace failure. We’ve failed far more than we have succeeded. But those failures have taught us something invaluable every single time, something we needed to learn. The big failures as well as the small failures have made us better - and we always want to keep getting better! The power of falling flat on your face, feeling the burn, and then getting back up with a smile on your face and a drive to succeed cannot be underestimated. We’re living blood, sweat, and tears. But we’re also learning to find our own balance. Our Catalyst saying represents great meaning for us both professionally and personally: All great change is preceded by chaos.
As single moms, starting a business from scratch may have been completely crazy. But crazy turned into something incredibly beautiful and rewarding. We’re proud to have built an organization that’s driven to help and empower people - kids, families, schools, therapists, and the community. We believe there is always hope. We’ll never give up believing in people and we’ll never stop hustling to improve the services Catalyst provides. We promise to never stop plowing down barriers until every barrier to quality, affordable, and accessible mental health services has been removed. We take great pride in what we do. We feel humbled and thankful every day for the opportunity to make a difference. There’s nothing we’d rather do than get up every single day and cheer on our team to take quality to the next level of great. The journey is simply amazing.
And remember: never take no for an answer, especially when you hear no in the process of trying to help people!!! Find something you’re passionate about and go for it! You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Hustle, fierce advocacy, and karma work together in incredible ways.
Lindsay and Christy