Like the Wharton Lions Club that has members serving their community, one guest speaker who was recently invited does the same here. She is Stephanie Konvicka, of Wharton.
Konvicka spoke during a luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 16. She is the lead psychosocial worker of Hesed House, a unique community outreach to foster whole-person wellness in every community member to build a more resilient community.
Konvicka seems hand picked for the job because of the recovery work she helped provide after flooding in Wharton in 2015, 2016, and more recently, after Hurricane Harvey flooded so much of the city of Wharton and the surrounding areas.
Because of that outreach, she began to understand how the community was affected by disaster.
Victims expressed despair and hopelessness, she told Lions members.
“Trauma is trauma, regardless of the cause,” Konvicka said. “Our school system reflects trauma. It will not change overnight. Children do not feel comfortable in their own bodies.”
She believes the disruption that so many families went through because of flooding has a direct impact on student performance throughout Wharton Independent School District.
Konvicka was youth leader for First Methodist Church of Wharton. The youth group became the community youth group with students from the Presbyterian Church as well as from other churches. Many joined together because some churches did not have active youth groups. Konvicka found a way to harness the power that youth bring and her small group helped provide manpower for preparation and recovery efforts.
Currently, Konvicka is the go-to person at Hesed House of Wharton, a non-profit organization that’s located at 413 West Colorado Street.
She told Lions member the name “Hesed” came to be after a trip to Israel where Konvicka heard the name for the first time. The Hebrew word means “God’s loving kindness to His people,” and to love is to move in mercy.
Hesed House has partnered with many agencies including Americares, Texana, Matagorda Episcopal Health Outreach Program, Just Do It Now, Wharton ISD, and several others with the goal of providing wellness programs for mind, body, and spirit.
Konvicka is offering several novel approaches for the public including art classes taught by different artists and yoga for relaxation of the mind, spirit, and body.
Hesed House also provides free licensed counseling in partnership with MEHOP to Wharton County residents. Konvicka hopes their program will be used as a model that can be replicated in other rural communities.