drop cap just made up another word, but don’t look for it in Webster’s in the near future. They probably don’t read my columns. Anyway I am “re-retiring” as of June 30. I retired the first time about five years ago from a local school district. I am a counselor by trade, when they ceased to be a counselor-friendly school district, so I figured 24 years was enough. I had other options. Many folks don’t have options, so they have to stay put until they come of age – or bank account.

This retirement is from full-time counseling. My brain is tired of helping people with their brains. I have enjoyed counseling folks for over 40 years, and still do, but there is a time to hang up the notepad. I have been in private practice for 30 years and the director of the Son-Shine Counseling Center in El Centro (SSCC) since 2009.

The center is strong, well staffed, and I will continue on more as a PR guy, community educator, and support group leader. The directorship will be taken over by Amy Bullock, LCSW (not related to Sandra!) and her number is 760-540-4335. If you know someone seeking counseling, the other licensed therapists are Gabriel Lam, LCSW (442-236-8668) and Lupita Castro, MFT (760-427-0738). All are skilled, bilingual, and well respected in the counseling community. Brawley native, Jenna Lyon, one of our interns, has been with the center for several years but is taking a break to spend time with her handsome one-year old Timothy, and to study for the state counseling licensing test. The center also has Susana Evers, who in addition to being a marriage and family counseling intern, is a certified “Life Coach” (760-791-4421).

I will do some occasional short-term counseling, consulting, and continue doing professional writing for many years. As you know I like writing, but what you don’t know is that I have expertise in writing resumes and letters to get students into college and scholarship money.

In graduate school, my grades were OK but I wrote a two-page essay that landed me two scholarships. I won’t say it’s the “Midas Touch”, but I understand the minds of scholarship applicant evaluators. Since that time, my writing has helped young people get into colleges, graduate programs and one person into medical school. My writing is a gift of God, and it is great to be of help to someone trying to find work or a way to their dreams.

hammockOften, the image of retirement is one hanging out in the hammock, which I do have, but God is giving me new tires (get it “re-tired”), to go in a different direction. I will definitely increase my volunteer work. For the past eight weeks, I have been doing a support group for survivors of sexual abuse. We finish in two weeks and will begin again in the fall. Call if you want to get on the list.  I hope to do a series of free community educational programs to strengthen marriages, encourage parents and improve academic outcomes for school-age youth. If you have a suggestion for a presentation, give me a holler at 760-353-5059. I am willing to come to churches or agencies.

I will fill my hours watching movies. If you have a big TV room, let’s start a movie club. I will bring the popcorn! I also like driving. I used to deliver fruits and vegetables all over the valley and I like truck driving. If you know of someone who needs someone to drive the kid’s stuff to college, I am your man. I used to transport mental patients for behavioral health. I guess I have delivered fruits, vegetables and nuts!!! Little did they know a nut was driving the van! I think the clients knew, but management was clueless! No harm, no foul.

Since I am a senior citizen, I will also do some senior citizen service. I’d like to deliver meals to shut-ins. Does your church do that? I can help. In my many jobs, I have done lots of home visits and visiting people in need would be a blessing for both of us. I like to eat so maybe I will volunteer at the senior nutrition center. We will see. I will write an update in the fall.

Helping is both healing and healthy. I will continue to be active in the church, write for the DR, and so some things off the beaten path. Let me know, and maybe we can go together. I got some new tires and the treads look pretty good!

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Jim Shinn has lived in the valley for 57 years and was home-schooled in the 1950’s. He was been a counselor at schools, health clinics, drug treatment center and is the director of the Son-Shine Counseling Center. He has written for the Alpine Sun and the Desert Voice and has published 2 books Bedtime Storeezzz and Faith and Loving on the Way to Heaven. He has taught at IVC, SDSU and the University of Redlands and writes to keep sane in a very strange world. He loves Jesus and serves Christ at Valley Baptist Church in Brawley.