Richard Yep

As is the case with a number of you, when I look around, I know I am blessed with many things that contribute to a fulfilling life. I have a supportive family, a good job, people I enjoy working with and a focus on issues that are both personally and professionally important to me. I place great value on many aspects of my life. In fact, I would say I have a life filled with abundance. From working, talking and interacting with many members of ACA for the past 20 years, I know many of you are also fulfilled and rich in the abundance that comes from helping your clients and students each and every day.

But we also know there are many others who are not so fortunate. Regardless of whether you live in an urban area or a rural one, in the North, South, East or West, within or outside of the United States, there are those who must constantly face life’s challenges and are in great need of the advocacy of professional counselors and other related human service professionals. While many people in our society look at what they can do as we near the end of the calendar year (perhaps by donating food, volunteering their time or contributing money to a worthy cause), professional counselors and counseling graduate students provide such valuable resources all year long. I want to thank you for all that you do. In fact, I think we should thank all who provide their time, effort and monetary resources on an ongoing basis throughout the year in hopes of alleviating the suffering that so many of our brothers and sisters face daily in their lives.

In many parts of the world, the end of the calendar year is celebrated with a season in which we think of our blessings, come together with friends and family, and look forward to a new year that is inclusive of a more peaceful world. These are certainly good things to contemplate and for which to hope.

Now what is it that we will do as we move into the new year to help make this world a better place? I don’t think there is any one correct answer to that question. When we all do what we can do, this results in positive change. Some of you will continue volunteer work in your communities. Others will simply be more deliberate about spending additional time with those you love. And some of you will, quite frankly, just open your checkbooks and give more of what you have. All of these actions are important and valuable, and contribute to meeting our hopes for a more peaceful, just and humane world.

As the American Counseling Association staff prepares for the end of the calendar year, we are involved with many activities and go through many actions. While we enjoy staff gatherings and perhaps a little extra time to share some good food and cheer, we will also continue to meet the needs of ACA members and the profession by registering you for our Annual Conference, processing book orders, developing new publications and online continuing education opportunities, responding to member needs and ensuring that our advocacy for the profession is made known by those in the public policy arena. If you have a few moments, I encourage you to visit us online at to learn about the new and ongoing efforts we are undertaking on your behalf.

As you close out the calendar year, I do hope that you will find time to reflect on all that you have accomplished during the past 12 months. I know you don’t always get the kudos that you deserve, so consider this column your own personal “thank you” citation for all the good work you do for the millions of children, adolescents, adults, couples, families and organizations that rely on your efforts. As a younger generation would say, you are “awesome.”

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or suggestions by e-mailing or by calling 800.347.6647 ext. 231. Thanks and be well.