Webster Orlando Counseling Instructor Impacts Lives across Americas

| April 6, 2015
Haiti

Webster Orlando Counseling faculty member Lynne Nasrallah works with an organization that provides emergency aid, new homes, clean water, medicine, educational materials and more to communities in need.

Longtime Webster University adjunct faculty member Lynne Nasrallah is known around the Webster University Orlando campus for her dedication to her students in the Counseling program. But academics isn’t the only area where she impacts lives year after year.

Since 2000 — a year after she began teaching at Webster — “Dr. Lynne” has been making trips to Central American countries including Jamaica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras and Haiti to provide emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes and skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance.

Nasrallah in Haiti

Working with impoverished communities in Haiti changed her approach to teaching Counseling Special Populations.

She conducts this work through Food For The Poor (FFP), an interdenominational relief and development organization that works primarily in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. The organization coordinates with pastors, missionaries, partner organizations, clinics and community leaders to direct aid where it’s most needed.

When a FFP rep first contacted her 15 years ago, Nasrallah said she initially resisted. “I thought, I wear dresses and high heels, and I don’t even own a pair of sneakers,” Nasrallah recalled. “I work all day as a counselor, teach at Webster at night, have two kids…I didn’t think this was for me.”

But after prayer and reflection, Nasrallah jumped in and hasn’t looked back. “I felt God was calling me to this,” she said. Nasrallah even donates her adjunct compensation at Webster to the project.

The work immediately improved her teaching, too.

“After working hand and hand with these families, when I came back to teach Counseling Special Populations, I knew I had to revise my approach,” she said. “Instead of relying on the textbook, I take my students out of the classroom. To learn how to counsel these populations, you must get out there and do it. You must visit the prison, you must visit the senior home, the special needs classroom, the at-risk population.”

A recent effort in Haiti built 129 new homes for 129 families who previously lived without adequate shelter.

A recent effort in Haiti built 129 new homes for 129 families who previously lived without adequate shelter.

Nasrallah said this approach also helps her students understand which areas of the counseling profession are right for them.

Through the efforts of volunteers like Nasrallah, FFP recently built 129 safe homes for 129 families in Ganthier, Haiti. In one day, they replace old ramshackle dwelling with new houses in villages of bout 25-35 houses each.

The transformation, she said, was remarkable: “Parents in this community now have employment opportunities making fishing nets, while families have safe, rain-proof homes that allow them and their children to sleep peacefully for the first time.”

Close to 1,000 homes have been built in Haiti thanks to funds from Orlando-area donors. Each year Nasrallah returns to Haiti to gauge the impact of the work and report back to donors. On her most recent trip, a villager told her, “The Orlando donors and you have become like Moses to us, leading us out of bondage and into freedom.”

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Category: Campus Snapshots, Faculty

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