“I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized, I am somebody.”      — Unknown

Our story is simple: we saw a very real and present need and decided to do something about it.

After years of volunteering in schools and churches, working as a wellness coach, parenting, and wading into hard conversations with family and friends, I could clearly see the difference quality counseling made in the lives of those who received it and those who did not. Unfortunately, far too many people never receive counseling, usually because of the cost.

Knowing there were children, adults, and families hurting who needed counseling but were suffering in silence for themselves or someone they loved weighed on me tremendously. I knew I was not alone in recognizing the need, yet too often our communities act in hindsight, after tragedy brings us together. Our solution was to create an organization to raise and contribute money that would go directly to pay for counseling sessions for anyone in Fort Bend County seeking but unable to afford therapy, to help change the course of their life.

After a yearlong proof of concept with Crossbridge Community

Church, we were overwhelmed by the encouragement and excitement we received from the community.

We continued to speak with leaders across the spectrum—including the Greater Houston chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), large donor advised funds, area pastors, and local licensed mental health care counselors—and were further convinced of the need for a fundraising organization in Fort Bend County to provide a financial bridge for churches and benevolence organizations to send people in need of counseling to licensed and certified counselors.

We are relying upon those who have benefited from, witnessed transformation in a loved one’s life, or understand the unmet need for counseling, who will join us and help pay counseling forward. We believe when one person moves forward, we all do, and are excited to work together to strengthen the mental health of Fort Bend County.

Sharise Amante
President and Founder of Counseling Paid Forward