Richard Yep

In the United States, we will celebrate Thanksgiving this year on Nov. 25. Traditionally, friends and family gather on this day to give thanks for things with which they have been blessed. Although copious amounts of food are often included in the festivities, the real focus is on acknowledging and appreciating the good things in life. It is ironic then, and an interesting juxtaposition, that the following day is known in the retail industry as Black Friday.

Yes, the day after Thanksgiving, the day after we express our appreciation for invaluable blessings such as family and friends, is the day when economists, politicians and titans of industry monitor merchandise sales to determine how profitable (or not) the Christmas buying season will be.

That’s right. Black Friday — the day when warm, fuzzy, special feelings from the previous day evaporate as people run down the store aisles and someone is bound to knock over an elderly woman in the name of grabbing an alpaca sweater offered at a significant discount. We live in interesting times.

But this month’s column is not about the marathon sales or the questionable behavior of some of those who choose to participate in Black Friday. Rather, I am focusing on what goes on the day before. I am thankful for many things: my family, my friends, my good health and a roof over my head.

On a professional level, I am appreciative of my fellow ACA staffers who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that our members know how special they are. I am also appreciative of the ACA leadership, being led this year by our president, Marcheta Evans. And I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my thanks for you, the members of ACA.

I am constantly in awe of what you do for so many families, couples and individuals. You go that extra mile even when you don’t have to, and you constantly look for ways to make this a better world for everyone. As the year comes to a close, I hope you will take time to reflect on what you have accomplished and the lives you have changed and then commit yourself to doing the same good work as we prepare to enter another new year.

Speaking of those in need, I would ask you to consider including the American Counseling Association Foundation in your financial contributions as the year comes to a close. The ACA Foundation, being chaired this year by Sam Gladding, has carefully looked at how to make the most of the resources it has available. By supporting graduate students, providing books to elementary school counselors and ensuring that the Counselors Care Fund continues to “live,” the ACA Foundation carries out its mission of counselors helping counselors.

It is amazing to think about how much the ACA Foundation has accomplished given the small percentage of ACA members who made contributions to it this past year. The Foundation provides important resources for professional counselors and counselor education students. Won’t you consider making a donation by going to

I am challenging the ACA membership to join me in making a gift to the ACA Foundation. It doesn’t matter how large or how small your donation — whatever you give will help the Foundation.

I also want to let you know about a very special pledge. An anonymous donor has pledged $2 for each person who makes a contribution between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15. Since every little bit helps, won’t you consider making a donation, especially knowing that whatever you give will be enhanced by our anonymous donor’s pledge?

My thanks to all of you for the good work you are doing.

As always, I hope you will contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have. Please contact me via e-mail at or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.

Thanks and be well.