Seminary Students Continue Work at Waymart Through Zoom
September 24, 2020 12:00 AM
St. Tikhon's Theological Seminary students have been coming to SCI Waymart for 33 years, beginning in 1987 when the institution was Farview State Hospital. More recently, St. Tikhon's students enrolled in the post-graduate course "Field Education Placement" have been providing support services in Waymart's mental health units. Under the tutelage of their instructor, Father John Kowalczyk, who is also a contract Chaplain at Waymart, these second-year students/interns provide counseling, support and spirituality to inmates with severe mental illness.
Earlier this year when COVID-19 struck, there was some doubt as to whether the program would continue due to the students being unable to enter into the institution. After several meetings between Seminary and Waymart staff, a plan was developed to allow the course to continue by providing "virtual counseling" through the use of Zoom. Currently there are 15 students participating in the 2020 fall/winter semester, and there will be 15 students also participating in the 2021 winter/spring semester who will "virtually" meet with the inmates. The students from their classroom at the school will provide services to inmates who will be on their housing units thanks to Zoom.
Pictured are the students during an orientation at St. Tikhon's Theological Seminary with their instructor and Waymart staff. Pictured from left: Father John Kowalczyk, CCPM David Gorman, Deputy Superintendent for Centralized Services Joseph Grillo and Father Joseph Kolakowski.