By Beth Fisher, News Anchor for KTNV Channel 13 “Together Making Las Vegas A Better Place to Live”
Living an extraordinary life helping others
It’s time to send in my article for Las Vegas Woman magazine. For me that means pouring over notes, stories, thoughts and try TRY to narrow down one person/subject/nonprofit/theme for this edition. Does it have to be just one? Yes. Debbie Hall, our Editor-in-Chief won’t give me any more pages. There are just so many people I want to say something about. Good people. Worthy people. People like Nina Austin.
You see, I love writing about ordinary people who live extraordinary lives. That’s Nina. Every day she spends hours counseling hurting Las Vegans. You’ll find her at H.O.P.E. Counseling Services. Most of HOPE’s clients are victims of trauma—victims of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. These folks have been through hell and they trust Nina to help them find their way out. She’s exactly the type of mental health counselor we need in Las Vegas. Did I mention she does this for free?
Here’s where Nina’s story gets interesting. Just when she thought she’d completed her course work for her master’s degree, she moved to Nevada. If you’re not up to speed on our state’s mental health licensing—let me be blunt. We require a bit more hoop jumping than most states. (Actually a lot, but the Nevada legislature is set to look at that in 2015.) Well, 2015 doesn’t do Nina much good. She’s here with three boys to raise. Did I mention she’s a single mom? And she gets a bomb dropped on her: Nevada requires an extra quarter as an intern and Nina is no longer eligible for financial aid. She’s tapped out.
So Nina—who spends her life helping others find solutions—came up with a solution of her own. Ask for help. She started a GoFundMe account to raise $2,000. The money covers her final semester and internship (which she’s now completed). H.O.P.E. wants to hire her—they tell me she’s amazing with clients. But until Nina can pay her college tuition, she can’t get her transcripts, diploma and, ultimately, her license.
I spent some time with Nina recently. I met her two youngest sons (her oldest is in the military). I saw a woman who is doing her part. She’s not asking for a hand out. She’s completed her master’s degree while working full time and raising her boys. She did this by herself. But Nina shouldn’t be by herself any more. She’s helping our community’s hurting, vulnerable victims. Shouldn’t our community help her too?
Like many of you, I get GoFundMe emails every day. I can’t donate to all of them. But this one is different. This woman is different. Our community needs her. She’s not fundraising for a new car or potato salad. She’s fundraising for her education. So that SHE can serve US. I am humbly asking that you prayerfully consider supporting Nina. You can find her at gofundme.com Just enter Nina Austin in the search bar. For more information on H.O.P.E., visit hopecounselingservices.net.
Beth Fisher anchors Good Morning Las Vegas weekdays from 5-7am. She also reports on the people and places that are Positively Las Vegas. She’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org