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OLLU awarded $3.5 million for Center for Children and Family

Oct 26, 2022

OLLU has been awarded $3.5 million from Bexar County Commissioner’s Court, funding that will help build the new Center for Children and Family.

Located at the corner of 20th Street and West Commerce, the Center for Children and Family will be a West Side anchor institution, providing mental health, speech, language and hearing services for a community hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

OLLU President Abel A. Chávez, MBA, PhD, told Commissioners Court that the new $10 million facility will serve a population from low-income neighborhoods at little or no cost. “The Center for Children and Family will absolutely transform the West Side,” Dr. Chávez said. “I am very grateful.”

To eliminate barriers to access and to promote a continuum of care, the Center for Children and Family will combine two training clinics – the Community Counseling Services and the Harry Jersig Speech-Language-Hearing Center, currently located almost two miles apart – into one facility.

Under the supervision of licensed therapists and clinicians, OLLU graduate students in psychology and communication sciences and disorders will serve clients with mental health challenges, along with children and adults with communication, voice and swallowing disorders. Services are offered at low or no cost.  

By educating future counselors, speech pathologists and audiologists, the Center for Children and Family also will benefit the area economically. Statistically, graduate students in psychology and communication sciences and disorders are likely to remain in San Antonio. As licensed practitioners, they will enhance the health of an impoverished segment of the city. In addition, careers for speech-language pathologists are projected to grow by nearly 30 percent by 2030.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated Bexar County as a Health Professional Shortage Area for mental health.

Tommy Calvert, County Commissioner, Pct. 4, applauded the work of Dr. Chávez. “Mr. President, I want to thank you for bringing new energy and new life to Our Lady of the Lake University,” Calvert said, recalling that his mother earned a degree from OLLU’s Weekend College. “Your reputation is spreading quickly around San Antonio as someone who is going to do a lot of great things.”