In 2003, Sister Theresa Marie Elitz, OSF founded a small outreach program at St. Paul’s Church in Wilmington, Delaware, working with children, adults, and families challenged with mental and behavioral issues, with a special focus on helping those people disproportionately affected by cultural, stigmatic, linguistic, and financial barriers. She worked alone, often long hours, eventually adding a part-time mental health counselor on Saturdays to offer more accessibility to the community. The outreach program evolved, and in 2010 was officially incorporated as a 501 C 3 nonprofit human services organization and named the Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s (FCCSP).” state=”closed”]Our founder, Sister Theresa Marie Elitz, OSF was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She attended St. Hubert’s High School in Northeast Philadelphia, and after several years of working in the business world, joined the Order of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. Sister earned her degree in nursing, and worked as an RN in North and Central America, and the Caribbean. She went back to school to become a licensed mental health therapist, and continued to work with the Hispanic population in the United States.
Sister Theresa has instilled some very important values, which our team has embraced, and which has helped shape the FCCSP culture. A compassionate, empathetic, and genuine approach to others is a prerequisite, and is so important in the eyes and hearts of the people who walk through our doors.
She is passionate about mental health, especially how it affects behavior and decision-making. It’s hard to deny the strong correlation between people who are dealing with depression, schizophrenia, severe anger, bipolar disorder – and/or who abuse drugs and/or alcohol – and who end up committing violent crimes. Addressing the root issues is key to helping prevent these traumatic events.
She also shares a concern regarding the severe shortage of bilingual, culturally competent mental health therapists in the United States and in Delaware. This problem, combined with a growing Hispanic population, spells real trouble for every community. As part of a continuous learning environment, Sister Theresa has supervised and trained many therapists who have gone on to work at various organizations. Her peer supervision model is helping the FCCSP to forge relationships with universities and colleges to recruit, train, supervise, and employ master level students who are candidates to become licensed, culturally competent mental health therapists, as well as help educate and train current counselors who want to learn how to become culturally competent and/or bilingual.
Sister Theresa has always emphasized accessibility. Our community engagement program proactively reaches out to primary healthcare systems, physicians’ offices, schools, faith-based entities, and other community-focused organizations to reach children, adults, and families where they are. Providing on-site bilingual, culturally competent counseling at these locations – and in their own homes – can help alleviate the accessibility issue, which is so prevalent with the growing and diverse population we serve. And though we have a growing waiting list, we simply cannot expect folks to just show up at our door – and unfortunately, the stigma of mental health influences people to not seek help.
Sister Theresa also recognizes the need to integrate mental health within the primary care arena. Mental health is a vital component of healthcare. Our team looks at a person’s health holistically, and we believe mental health should be a part of the total system, not a silo somewhere out in right field.
She also recognizes that although these people share a common language, each has a different culture and their experience in their homeland and in the United States is different. That’s why providing culturally competent services is a necessary, critical asset in helping these children, adults, and families. (Read Soledad O’Brien’s book Latino in America!).
Sister Theresa is a tireless direct care worker and advocate. Our team is blessed and grateful to be able to work with her. We are lucky colleagues! She provides a caring and learning environment. And she connects with the people in our community. She has built a team driven by empathy and compassion for the people in our community. You can see the passion in her eyes for this work…and there is much work to be done.
The healthcare needs of the population we serve – mostly Hispanic and African American children, adults, and families who are uninsured, underserved, impoverished, and have no to little income – have steadily and significantly increased. Much of this has revolved around the behavioral health issues that these people face.
In response, a grassroots counseling program began in 2003 under the guidance and leadership of professional counselor Theresa Marie Elitz. Immediately the program had a waiting list – a direct result of the severe shortage and high demand for bilingual, culturally competent counselors, paralleled by the exploding and continued growth of the Hispanic population. The program evolved, and in September 2010 became incorporated as a 501 C 3 nonprofit human services organization.
The Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s (FCCSP) is a behavioral health organization serving Wilmington, Delaware and its surrounding communities in New Castle County, Delaware. Our compassionate, holistic approach to care – which we call Heal with Love or Con Amor Sanamos (CASa) – is integrated into our bilingual (English/Spanish), culturally competent mental and behavioral health counseling, parenting skills training, and peer supervision & consulting programs.
We continue to foster partnerships with other community-focused organizations, opening the door to a wider pool of resources for our clients. We are also increasing the capacity of the Delaware community to respond to a dire need for licensed, bilingual, culturally competent therapists by providing training to clinician candidates, enabling them to attain their state license, and become credentialed with healthcare insurers.
Rob McCreary – Executive Director and Development/Fundraising Officer
The Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s envisions a community where every individual
has the opportunity to improve their quality of life through emotional and behavioral health services.
En el Centro de Consejería Familiar de San Pablo tenemos la visión de una comunidad, en donde cada persona tenga la oportunidad de mejorar la calidad de vida, mediante los servicios del cuidado de la salud mental.
The Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s provides access to compassionate, culturally responsive emotional and behavioral health services that empower individuals and families.
En el Centro de Consejería Familiar de San Pablo, proveemos acceso a servicios de cuidado de la salud mental que son culturalmente apropiados y que fortalecen a individuos y familias.
The Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s character is shaped by compassion, integrity,
professionalism, responsiveness, dedication, inclusiveness, and respect.
En el Centro de Consejería Familiar de San Pablo, está conformados por cualidades tales
como: compasión, integridad, profesionalismo, sensibilidad, dedicación, inclusividad y respeto.
FCCSP Board Members
Ms. Rangan is a longtime champion of equal access to credit and capital. She has testified before the federal and state banking regulators, was involved in bringing the Small Business Administration to Delaware, served as president of the League of Women Voters of Delaware and as community advisory board member of the Federal Reserve and The News Journal.
She currently serves as President for the AARP in Delaware and on the community advisory board for Capital One. Ms. Rangan’s appreciation of the regulated banking system, how it works, and the barriers it presents to the community, makes her an invaluable resource to the community. Ms. Rangan received her master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware, and a J.D. from Widener University School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Delaware and US Tax Court.
As an undergraduate, Luis served on the Student Government Association as Community Service Chair for two years. For the past three years, Luis served as the Director of Corporate Affairs for the Delaware Chapter of Associations of Latinos Professional in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association at GBC, Board of Directors of the Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s and Trustee at Discipleship of Christ Community Fellowship Church. Additionally, Luis is the Director of “Big Homies” (Young Men’s Ministry) at Discipleship of Christ. Lastly, to help increase high school graduation and college enrollment rates among Latinos in Delaware, Luis helped develop a strategic initiative “Latino Unidos” with the United Way of Delaware.
During his down time, Luis plays competitive basketball and loves spending time with family, friends and two dogs.
Eric Torres, Esq.
Eric received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Eric received his J.D. from Cornell Law School, where he served as an associate editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. He is licensed to practice law in Delaware.
In his downtime, Eric enjoys reading, watching movies, playing basketball and spending time with family and friends.
Sister Mary E. Killoran, OSF
Sr. Mary has a MA from LaSalle College, Philadelphia, PA in Religious Education and a certificate from Neumann University in Spiritual Direction. Sr. Mary taught elementary school for fifteen years and did pastoral ministry in parishes in South Carolina; Baltimore, Maryland; and Wilmington, Delaware for fifteen years. Sr. Mary served on the Leadership Team of the Sisters of St. Francis from 1990-1996, and since 1997 has served as the Delaware coordinator of AVP.
Prior to joining Principal Trust Roman served as Director of e-Solutions for Dynamic Commerce Applications, Inc. a Philadelphia-area consulting firm. He served as account manager and managed large-scale client projects in the banking and insurance sectors. Roman also played a key role in the design and development of a proprietary software product that was marketed by this firm.
Prior to his consulting role, Roman was a Senior IT Manager for Provident Mutual Life Insurance. He was project manager on several key projects on mainframe, client-server, and web platforms. He held several titles with Provident, including Director of Advanced Systems and Special Projects Officer.
Roman has a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from Drexel University.
Roman is currently chairman of the Board of Directors for Sojourners’ Place, a non-profit organization in Wilmington Delaware that provides shelter and services to aid homeless men and women. Roman has been on the board of Sojourners’ for over 12 years and formerly served on the board executive committee as board vice-chair and secretary.
Roman is a retired High School basketball official, and is still active as a referee and instructor with several associations. He is an active volunteer with the New Jersey Special Olympics, serving as a volunteer official in their southern New Jersey and statewide basketball tournaments for over 15 years.
Roman was the Treasurer for the Wildwood Square Condominium Association, a 58 unit community in Wildwood New Jersey from 2009 through 2015.