Kerlie Merizier’s Trinity Story

From TEEP to Trinity Boston Counseling Center

I started my journey with Trinity Boston Foundation at TEEP in 2007. My older brother attended the summer program the year prior and had such a good experience that my parents enrolled me the next year.

TEEP was my first summer program and the first time I was part of a community that was not family. I was a recent immigrant to the country, so it took me a while to embrace all the warmth that surrounded me. I completed three years as a camper, then in high school became a CIT (Counselor in Training) and counselor as part of the LDP (Leadership Development Program). Being a counselor and a member of the LDP was the most rewarding experience. This is when I realized my passion for working with youth.

I was able to identify the positive impact I had and can have with interpersonal and community relationships. I was also able to learn a lot about my leadership skills, my potential, and myself. For example, I was encouraged to join Sole Train my junior year of high school, and a year later through the phenomenal support of the Sole Train family, I ran the B.A.A. Half-Marathon – an accomplishment I never imagined I could fulfill.

Upon entering college at Roger Williams University, I was at a crossroad about what I wanted to study: pre-med as my family hoped, or psychology as my interest yearned. I reflected on my experiences, my personal characteristics, the communities I’ve encountered, and my work at TEEP, and it all became very clear to me – my calling is to be a counselor. More specifically, my personal mission is to provide mental health services to help combat and heal generational trauma and suffering that has been normalized all around me in disadvantaged communities.

To help solidify this calling, I returned to TEEP as a CIT Deputy Director in 2015. This time I had more knowledge, awareness, and purpose to the work I was doing and an outcome I wanted to achieve. But my goals wouldn’t be realized in one summer, or a couple of summers. The type of work I wanted to do and changes I wanted to see required a lifelong dedication and commitment.

 

I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Boston College. I was very intentional when applying for internships as I really wanted to work with disadvantaged youth (youth of color, LGBTQ+, immigrant, low-income, etc.), and I wanted an agency that incorporated social justice and trauma-informed care. Much to my surprise, that was a lot to ask for. Trinity Boston Counseling Center and Trinity@ McCormack were two of the very few mental health programs that had that mission and were actively living it out. So I found myself right back at my second home at Trinity Boston Foundation, doing work that I love and with people that I love.

 

My experience thus far as an intern is exactly what I asked for and more. It is an amazing feeling when your personal mission matches with that of an organization and you have the opportunity to learn from and work with phenomenal people. Whether it’s through a summer program, a running program, or a mental health program, everyone is working towards the same goal. I was lucky enough to be a part of all of Trinity’s programs, and for that, I am empowered and eternally grateful.

Your gifts help make our programs, and stories like Kerlie’s, a reality. We’re now less than $64,000 away from our $250,000 matching goal this holiday season. Please be as generous as you can with a tax-deductible matched gift before December 31st!