Alumni, Community, People

Donation supports children’s mental health initiatives

January 06, 2022

Donating to the Mary J. Wright Child and Youth Development Clinic was an easy decision for Marilyn Elford.

Through her education experience, the retired educator understands children’s mental health is important for their social, emotional, and intellectual well-being. In addition, she also has a family connection to the Faculty of Education.

It’s these two reasons why she donated to the clinic.

Mental health is important for Elford because looking back at her career, she never felt prepared to deal with the mental health concerns children and families face. Some of these issues include, family separation, divorce, death of a parent or a child who’s experiencing abuse.

“I didn’t have the right language and I could’ve been better prepared to deal with those situations,” she said.

Besides promoting mental health, Elford also wants to give back to the Faculty of Education because it’s been an important part of her family’s life. Elford’s husband, Glenn, was a member of the Faculty of Education for 25 years and became professor emeritus upon retirement.

“It played a major role in our lives,” Elford said. “Glenn did a lot of work with students, including on a personal level.”

Elford knew after her husband’s death in 2000 that she would donate to the university. She planned on giving to Western as part of her will, but she decided it would be easier to donate while she’s still alive.

In particular, she wanted to donate to the clinic when she heard a presentation about the clinic’s mission and how it’s helping children and families.

“I was impressed,” Elford said. “It resonated right away with me for the need to donate and I tucked the idea away.”

The Marilyn and Glenn Elford Teaching and Supervision Room at the Mary J. Wright Child and Youth Development Clinic has been named in their honour. While having a room named after them is nice, it’s what the room represents that’s important, Elford said.

“I hope the donation will provide greater awareness of mental health issues that children and families face as well as prepare young professionals to deal with these issues,” she said.

The clinic has one goal: setting children and families up for success through supporting practice and research in real world settings with clients from the community and from the Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre.

Graduate students in the School and Applied Child Psychology program at Western University, under the supervision of licensed child psychologists, provide high-quality and affordable psychological consultation, assessment, and treatment services to children and youth from three to 18 years of age.