Avila Now

March 23, 2022

Caring for “The Dear Neighbor” on Campus

Close up of the statue of St. Teresa of Avila
Teresa of Avila dusk.

The sense of community is one of the first things you feel when stepping foot on Avila’s campus. The Avila Care Team (ACT) is one of the support layers that provide that sense of community at Avila. Made up of Avila faculty and staff, ACT is dedicated to ensuring the campus community’s needs are met in a caring, compassionate, and confidential manner. 

ACT, formally named Early Alert Team, was created in part by Assistant Vice President for Student Development & Success Darby Gough in 2007. The team’s purpose is to help support students, faculty, and staff through any life crisis or problem. That support can come in various ways like providing services (counseling, career help, advising, etc.), goods (clothing drives, personal hygiene products, food pantry items, etc.), and support (through hardship, surgery, loss, grief, etc.). 

“Avila faculty and staff build strong connections with students and learn of different concerns or issues they are facing. We wanted to show students and families that we care in and out of the classroom,” said Gough. 

ACT meets several times a month and chats daily through various platforms to ensure needs are readily addressed. They have been through numerous types of training, including online courses, Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) mental health workshops, and Mental Health First Aid. The Care team is trained and ready to help. 

“I’ve been a part of training that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do. The committee is cross-institutional, and I get to interact with a variety of faculty and staff members. People will continue to go through hardships, and as a CJS (Sisters of St. Joseph)  institution, we need to be there to help them navigate through the process. We, as humans, are going to encounter hardships. To know there’s a body at the institution to assist when those hardships occur is comforting and a wonderful thing to be a part of,” said ACT Chair Paige Illum, Ph.D., and director of student engagement and success.

“Being part of the ACT increased my sense of belonging to the Avila community. It also deepened my understanding of the various challenges students are experiencing and increased my empathy towards them,” said ACT member and Assistant Professor Hadas Moshonov-Cohavi, Ph.D.

If you have particular concerns about a student, another member of the Avila community, or concerns about your own wellbeing, you have three avenues in which to share this information with the Avila Care Team:

  • Complete the Avila Care Team (ACT) form located at the bottom of the Care Team Website
  • Call 866.943.5787 and leave a message for ACT
  • Contact any member of ACT listed on the Care Team Website

The Avila Care Team is looking for new members. Any Avila staff or faculty member interested in helping the Avila campus community is welcome to inquire. The team meets twice a month and regularly corresponds to triage situations. Contact Paige Illum for more information.

Go back to the top