How Did the Amelia Center Begin?

elliott_amelia.jpgMonday, June 26, 1995, on a railroad track crossing near YMCA’s Camp Cosby in Alpine, Alabama, a train collided with a car carrying four camp counselors. All of them were killed instantly. One of those counselors was a young lady named Amelia Elliott.

Because no place like The Amelia Center existed, this tragic accident highlighted the need for support for the children and families grieving the death of these individuals. In a partnership with Children’s of Alabama, Amelia’s parents (George and Jerrie), along with the community and many supportive friends, had a vision to create a place of hope for grieving families. The Amelia Center opened its doors in July 1997. Since then, its team of counselors has provided a place of hope for thousands of grieving individuals.

The Amelia Center Today

The Vision for The Amelia Center is that all grieving children, parents and families in the greater Birmingham region have access to a caring and compassionate environment that fosters hope and healing. All services are provided at no set fee to families. The Amelia Center is a department of Children’s of Alabama, and is supported by the United Way of Central Alabama, the generosity of the community, and client donations.

The mission of The Amelia Center is to provide individual counseling, group counseling, and education to children grieving the death of a family member, as well as parents and families grieving the death of a child; and to offer professional education and training in grief counseling models.

Principles

  • The Amelia Center is founded on the belief that every child, teenager and adult deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment.
  • Grief is a natural reaction to the loss of a loved one for children as well as adults
  • Within each individual is the natural capacity to heal oneself
  • The duration and intensity of grief are unique for each individual
  • Caring and acceptance assist in the healing process


Services Provided

The Amelia Center provides professional counseling for children and teens grieving the death of a parent, grandparent, sibling, close relative, or friend. We provide a safe place where they can find hope and creatively express feelings through art and play.

Counseling is also provided for parents grieving the death of a child of any age, ranging from pregnancy loss through adulthood. Support groups for children, teens, and parents are available as well.

Counseling Services

Training and educational services are available to schools, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit organizations. Each training is tailored to the needs of your organization. We often provide training to schools in the following areas:

  • Critical Incident Planning for schools
  • Understanding the grieving process
  • Identifying signs of distress in grieving individuals and how best to support them

Schools and organizations that have utilized this training have contacted The Amelia Center and expressed a greater sense of confidence in dealing with a death in their organization. Organizations that activate their Critical Incident Plan many times do not need additional Crisis Intervention services.

A reasonable fee will be charged for education services and training and travel costs to organizations.  For more information, please contact 205-638-7481 or email Matthew Bunt, Education and Events Coordinator.

ACEP-logo-72dpi_web.jpg

The Amelia Center of Children’s of Alabama has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6193. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Amelia Center of Children’s of Alabama is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

The Amelia Center of Children's of Alabama is also an approved CE provider for Alabama Social Work (#0354).

School Resources



Robert Smith, MA, LPC-S

Robert Smith, MA, LPC-S serves as Executive Director for The Amelia Center, a comprehensive grief counseling center of Children's of Alabama. Mr. Smith is responsible for short and long-range planning and management of The Amelia Center. Other duties include family and individual counseling, development of sound fiscal, program and support policies and teaching educational programs sponsored by The Amelia Center. Mr. Smith is also a Supervising Counselor.

Mr. Smith has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of UAB where he taught Death and Dying and has been a guest lecturer on the topics of Death and Dying, Grief, and Hope at the University of Montevallo and Samford University and has been a presenter at the 8th and 9th National Symposium on Children's Grief Support. Mr. Smith has worked in over 40 schools involved in crisis and is experienced in crisis intervention and suicide prevention through his work with The Crisis Center of Birmingham.

Mr. Smith received his Master of Art in Community Agency Counseling in June of 2000 and Bachelors degree in Psychology in June of 1995 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In February of 2001 he received advanced training in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, and in October of 2001 received training in Psychotraumatology, both from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. Robert is married to his wife, Rhonda. They have two sons, Landon and Brennen.


Matthew Bunt, M.Ed., LPC-S

Matthew Bunt, M.Ed., LPC-S serves as Education Coordinator for The Amelia Center. Mr. Bunt received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Samford University.  He received his Masters of Education in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Montevallo. Mr. Bunt volunteered with the Amelia Center from 2001 until 2005 assisting with the children's support groups. Mr. Bunt has worked with Alabama Youth Homes as a counselor for adolescent males and has also volunteered with Mustard Seed Society and Spirit of Hope Youth Ranch facilitating and assisting with Equine Assisted Psychotherapy groups. Mr. Bunt is also a registered PATH, International Instructor with Special Equestrians, Inc. and the Red Barn Foundation. He has experience in fund development, program development and event planning through his work with McWane Science Center, Alabama Public Television, Vulcan Park Foundation and Special Equestrians, Inc.


Valeri Cowart, MA, LPC

Valeri Cowart, MA, LPC serves as the Group Counseling Coordinator for the Amelia Center. In addition to providing individual and family counseling, she is also responsible for developing, coordinating, and facilitating supportive groups to assist our clients as they progress through the grief process.

Ms. Cowart received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and her Master of Arts degree in Community Counseling from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She feels strongly about her commitment to serving those who are experiencing challenging life situations and began her career in the helping profession as a programming and volunteer manager for First Light, a local homeless shelter for women and children. Her initial interest in grief counseling was sparked by her involvement with hospice patients and their families as a Volunteer Coordinator and Program Liaison for Alacare Home Health and Hospice. As she worked alongside patients and families, she developed a deep respect and sensitivity for those facing the death of a loved one and decided to further her education in the counseling field. While completing her master's degree, Ms. Cowart worked as a substance abuse counselor and met requirements for becoming a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Professional. She is the proud mom of two daughters and considers it a special privilege to give hope to the grieving children who come through our doors.


Olivia Dorn, MA, LPC

Olivia Dorn, MA, LPC serves as a grief counselor for the Amelia Center. Her duties include providing individual and family counseling for children, teens, and adults who have experienced the death of a loved one. Mrs. Dorn completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Alabama in 2010 and a Master of Arts in Community Agency Counseling at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2013.

During her graduate studies Mrs. Dorn worked as an intern at The Amelia Center and immediately appreciated the value of the services that were provided to grieving families. After graduation she worked in an agency setting, where she continued to focus on grief counseling. Mrs. Dorn feels honored to be able to return to The Amelia Center and assist clients as they work through the grief process.


Dusty Sivley, MA, LPC

Dusty Sivley, MA, LPC serves as a Internship Coordinator for The Amelia Center. Her duties include family and individual counseling for grieving children, teens, and adults. She also coordinates the internship program and supervises graduate-level interns from UAB and the University of Montevallo.

Mrs. Sivley received her Master of Art in Community Agency Counseling in December of 2007 and Bachelors degree in Psychology in May of 2005 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Mrs. Sivley originally came to The Amelia Center as a counseling intern and immediately fell in love with the center and the services it provides for grieving families throughout Alabama. She enjoys assisting the clients of The Amelia Center as they work through the grieving process.


Yvonne Jackson

Yvonne Jackson is the Receptionist/Intake Assistant for The Amelia Center. Mrs. Jackson's duties include greeting clients as they arrive at the Center, scheduling appointments, interviewing clients for their initial intake, and other clerical duties. She comes to this job with a wealth of experience working for Children's Health System.






Tina Currier

Tina Currier is the Office Manager for The Amelia Center. Ms. Currier's duties include managing the day to day operations of the Center and assisting the Executive Director. Ms. Currier comes to The Amelia Center with over 20 years experience in both non-profit and medical office management. She has been with Children's of Alabama for over 3 years.


The Amelia Center

1513 Fourth Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35233

Phone: 205-638-7481
Fax: 205-638-7492
Email: ameliacenter@childrensal.org


Location and Directions


How Did the Amelia Center Begin?

elliott_amelia.jpgMonday, June 26, 1995, on a railroad track crossing near YMCA’s Camp Cosby in Alpine, Alabama, a train collided with a car carrying four camp counselors. All of them were killed instantly. One of those counselors was a young lady named Amelia Elliott.

Because no place like The Amelia Center existed, this tragic accident highlighted the need for support for the children and families grieving the death of these individuals. In a partnership with Children’s of Alabama, Amelia’s parents (George and Jerrie), along with the community and many supportive friends, had a vision to create a place of hope for grieving families. The Amelia Center opened its doors in July 1997. Since then, its team of counselors has provided a place of hope for thousands of grieving individuals.

The Amelia Center Today

The Vision for The Amelia Center is that all grieving children, parents and families in the greater Birmingham region have access to a caring and compassionate environment that fosters hope and healing. All services are provided at no set fee to families. The Amelia Center is a department of Children’s of Alabama, and is supported by the United Way of Central Alabama, the generosity of the community, and client donations.

The mission of The Amelia Center is to provide individual counseling, group counseling, and education to children grieving the death of a family member, as well as parents and families grieving the death of a child; and to offer professional education and training in grief counseling models.

Principles

  • The Amelia Center is founded on the belief that every child, teenager and adult deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment.
  • Grief is a natural reaction to the loss of a loved one for children as well as adults
  • Within each individual is the natural capacity to heal oneself
  • The duration and intensity of grief are unique for each individual
  • Caring and acceptance assist in the healing process


Services Provided

The Amelia Center provides professional counseling for children and teens grieving the death of a parent, grandparent, sibling, close relative, or friend. We provide a safe place where they can find hope and creatively express feelings through art and play.

Counseling is also provided for parents grieving the death of a child of any age, ranging from pregnancy loss through adulthood. Support groups for children, teens, and parents are available as well.

Counseling Services

Training and educational services are available to schools, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit organizations. Each training is tailored to the needs of your organization. We often provide training to schools in the following areas:

  • Critical Incident Planning for schools
  • Understanding the grieving process
  • Identifying signs of distress in grieving individuals and how best to support them

Schools and organizations that have utilized this training have contacted The Amelia Center and expressed a greater sense of confidence in dealing with a death in their organization. Organizations that activate their Critical Incident Plan many times do not need additional Crisis Intervention services.

A reasonable fee will be charged for education services and training and travel costs to organizations.  For more information, please contact 205-638-7481 or email Matthew Bunt, Education and Events Coordinator.

ACEP-logo-72dpi_web.jpg

The Amelia Center of Children’s of Alabama has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6193. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Amelia Center of Children’s of Alabama is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

The Amelia Center of Children's of Alabama is also an approved CE provider for Alabama Social Work (#0354).

School Resources



Robert Smith, MA, LPC-S

Robert Smith, MA, LPC-S serves as Executive Director for The Amelia Center, a comprehensive grief counseling center of Children's of Alabama. Mr. Smith is responsible for short and long-range planning and management of The Amelia Center. Other duties include family and individual counseling, development of sound fiscal, program and support policies and teaching educational programs sponsored by The Amelia Center. Mr. Smith is also a Supervising Counselor.

Mr. Smith has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of UAB where he taught Death and Dying and has been a guest lecturer on the topics of Death and Dying, Grief, and Hope at the University of Montevallo and Samford University and has been a presenter at the 8th and 9th National Symposium on Children's Grief Support. Mr. Smith has worked in over 40 schools involved in crisis and is experienced in crisis intervention and suicide prevention through his work with The Crisis Center of Birmingham.

Mr. Smith received his Master of Art in Community Agency Counseling in June of 2000 and Bachelors degree in Psychology in June of 1995 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In February of 2001 he received advanced training in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, and in October of 2001 received training in Psychotraumatology, both from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. Robert is married to his wife, Rhonda. They have two sons, Landon and Brennen.


Matthew Bunt, M.Ed., LPC-S

Matthew Bunt, M.Ed., LPC-S serves as Education Coordinator for The Amelia Center. Mr. Bunt received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Samford University.  He received his Masters of Education in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Montevallo. Mr. Bunt volunteered with the Amelia Center from 2001 until 2005 assisting with the children's support groups. Mr. Bunt has worked with Alabama Youth Homes as a counselor for adolescent males and has also volunteered with Mustard Seed Society and Spirit of Hope Youth Ranch facilitating and assisting with Equine Assisted Psychotherapy groups. Mr. Bunt is also a registered PATH, International Instructor with Special Equestrians, Inc. and the Red Barn Foundation. He has experience in fund development, program development and event planning through his work with McWane Science Center, Alabama Public Television, Vulcan Park Foundation and Special Equestrians, Inc.


Valeri Cowart, MA, LPC

Valeri Cowart, MA, LPC serves as the Group Counseling Coordinator for the Amelia Center. In addition to providing individual and family counseling, she is also responsible for developing, coordinating, and facilitating supportive groups to assist our clients as they progress through the grief process.

Ms. Cowart received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and her Master of Arts degree in Community Counseling from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She feels strongly about her commitment to serving those who are experiencing challenging life situations and began her career in the helping profession as a programming and volunteer manager for First Light, a local homeless shelter for women and children. Her initial interest in grief counseling was sparked by her involvement with hospice patients and their families as a Volunteer Coordinator and Program Liaison for Alacare Home Health and Hospice. As she worked alongside patients and families, she developed a deep respect and sensitivity for those facing the death of a loved one and decided to further her education in the counseling field. While completing her master's degree, Ms. Cowart worked as a substance abuse counselor and met requirements for becoming a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Professional. She is the proud mom of two daughters and considers it a special privilege to give hope to the grieving children who come through our doors.


Olivia Dorn, MA, LPC

Olivia Dorn, MA, LPC serves as a grief counselor for the Amelia Center. Her duties include providing individual and family counseling for children, teens, and adults who have experienced the death of a loved one. Mrs. Dorn completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Alabama in 2010 and a Master of Arts in Community Agency Counseling at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2013.

During her graduate studies Mrs. Dorn worked as an intern at The Amelia Center and immediately appreciated the value of the services that were provided to grieving families. After graduation she worked in an agency setting, where she continued to focus on grief counseling. Mrs. Dorn feels honored to be able to return to The Amelia Center and assist clients as they work through the grief process.


Dusty Sivley, MA, LPC

Dusty Sivley, MA, LPC serves as a Internship Coordinator for The Amelia Center. Her duties include family and individual counseling for grieving children, teens, and adults. She also coordinates the internship program and supervises graduate-level interns from UAB and the University of Montevallo.

Mrs. Sivley received her Master of Art in Community Agency Counseling in December of 2007 and Bachelors degree in Psychology in May of 2005 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Mrs. Sivley originally came to The Amelia Center as a counseling intern and immediately fell in love with the center and the services it provides for grieving families throughout Alabama. She enjoys assisting the clients of The Amelia Center as they work through the grieving process.


Yvonne Jackson

Yvonne Jackson is the Receptionist/Intake Assistant for The Amelia Center. Mrs. Jackson's duties include greeting clients as they arrive at the Center, scheduling appointments, interviewing clients for their initial intake, and other clerical duties. She comes to this job with a wealth of experience working for Children's Health System.






Tina Currier

Tina Currier is the Office Manager for The Amelia Center. Ms. Currier's duties include managing the day to day operations of the Center and assisting the Executive Director. Ms. Currier comes to The Amelia Center with over 20 years experience in both non-profit and medical office management. She has been with Children's of Alabama for over 3 years.


The Amelia Center

1513 Fourth Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35233

Phone: 205-638-7481
Fax: 205-638-7492
Email: ameliacenter@childrensal.org


Location and Directions