Nonprofit hires new counselor

Nonprofit hires new counselor

Ashley Cornelius-Hester is an education coordinator in the Marriage/Relationship department at Tuscaloosa’s One Place. Photo Courtesy of Ashley Cornelius-Hester

Alexis Faire

Cornelius-Hester grew up in a military family moving from place to place until they eventually settled down in Oxford, Alabama. She then attended The University of Alabama for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, where she majored in criminal justice. Cornelius-Hester now works in the Marriage/Relationship department at TOP as an education coordinator.

“I want to work somewhere where I feel like I’m making a difference,” Cornelius-Hester said.

Tuscaloosa’s One Place, a Family Resource Center, is a nonprofit organization that provides family needs in the Tuscaloosa area. The organization hosts programs such as parenthood, career development and after-school programs that provide resources and 
encouragement to people of all ages.

Cornelius-Hester said she taught at the University for seven years in various fields while pursuing her doctorate. After she finished teaching, she began working at Tuscaloosa’s Turning Point, an organization that provides domestic violence and sexual assault services.

While at a community event for Turning Point, she said she met her future supervisor, who advised her to apply for a position at TOP. After a year at Turning Point, she began working at TOP in August 2014.

With TOP being one of 16 to 19 different Family Resource Centers across the state, Cornelius-Hester provides counseling, emergency needs and home visitations to victims of domestic violence. She said her job offers an opportunity for at-risk kids to play in a safe environment and get help with their homework.

Although her background doesn’t include social work, she said the nature of living in a college town offers more opportunity for those in need, which is one of the goals of TOP. She said she loves to communicate and talk to different people she meets while on the job and in her classes.

“I can’t do this work and not connect with people,” she said.