President’s Message: September

Recently, I have been thinking back about my experiences with OPA and the various roles I have played for the association. I have enjoyed the time I have spent as a committee member, a board member and as our Finance Officer. I now look forward to my next year as President, and hope that I am able to enjoy the same fulfilling experience through this new role. As a person, I know that working as a volunteer for OPA has enhanced my sense of purpose in life, and helped me feel I am making a positive contribution to my profession and the world around me. As I reflect on all this, it reminds of two important facts regarding our association. One is the crucial influence OPA has on the profession of psychology in Ohio. The second is the fact that the majority of this significant work would be impossible without the energy and support of the many volunteers on which OPA depends.

As most members consider important work of our association, I believe they are more aware of the accomplishments made on behalf of the members, and perhaps less aware of how much this work depends on our volunteers. I urge of all our members to consider these facts together, that volunteering provides individual benefits for the volunteer, as well as crucial benefits for the association. In my various roles as an OPA volunteer and leader, I have found myself in conversations with a number of psychologists who are interested in becoming more involved with the work of the association. I urge them to consider their own interests, strengths, talents, and then get to know the work of the various committees of OPA to find an area which matches their resources.

While most of our committees could benefit from the efforts of willing helpers, I would like to highlight here the work of specific groups many people are attracted to. A huge role for OPA is advocacy. All psychologists benefit when OPA advocates for legislation and public policy which reflects the interests of psychologists. Our Advocacy Committee attracts individuals who have a passion for helping to coordinate this kind of work. Additionally, our Legislative Day actively seeks participants who are interested in receiving more training and experience in meeting with legislators and discussing key issues.

An important role for OPA is providing quality education for our members and other professionals. This service also provides the association with an important source of income. Continuing education opportunities are provided through our annual convention, stand alone workshops, and through our developing list of webinars. Individuals who have an interest in this are often find fulfillment through volunteering for our Education Committee or submitting a proposal in their area of expertise to teach one of these offerings.

Recently, a number of people have contacted me who have concerns about the emerging bullying issued so much in public awareness lately. I am pleased to announce that OPA will be forming a task force specifically aimed at addressing this issue, and this group is actively seeking new members.

In an effort to recruit more psychologists at the beginning of their career, as well as make OPA more relevant for this group, we have a newly formed Early Career Psychologists Committee. Individuals who are just starting their career but are concerned that OPA may not be important for them would find working with this committee to be an opportunity to make their voice heard. Within the past year, the newly formed Disaster Response Committee has been working to enhance our Disaster Response Network here in Ohio. This is a group of mental health professional who are trained by the Red Cross to be mental health workers at disaster sights. This committee is just beginning their work of recruiting, organizing, and training volunteers, and is open for additional members.

These are only a few of the areas where fulfilling volunteer experiences are available. In the future, I will look for ways of highlighting the work in other areas. In the meantime, I urge all members to investigate any area of interest they have. If you would like to obtain more information, you may do so by connecting with the committee, task force and affiliate page on the OPA website where links to chair email addresses are available.

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