Meet Joanna Halbur, the director of mental health at Project Harmony Child Advocacy Center (projectharmony.com).
Tell us a little about your business. – Project Harmony is a child advocacy center that provides immediate support to children and families who have been impacted by child abuse and are experiencing trauma. Medical evaluation, forensic interviews, and advocacy services are provided to ensure families get the most from those responding to child abuse. Referrals are then provided for mental health services for ongoing support. We have a wonderful mental health team at Project Harmony that consists of the director, two program managers, eight therapists, and one admin support all focused on helping families begin the healing process. We offer a variety of therapy modalities that have been shown to be effective at helping children recover after trauma.
How did you get started in the business? – I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2006 and have worked at a number of nonprofit organizations in Minnesota and Nebraska. I have been with Project Harmony for three years.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – We complete about 2,500 forensic interviews each year and many of the children interviewed need therapy. In addition, we find that their siblings and protective caregivers also often need therapy. Our team of eight therapists cannot meet all of the need. We desperately need more therapists to join our team at Project Harmony and additionally therapists in the community who are willing to accept referrals when our team is at capacity. It is such an amazing field where you can make a huge impact on a young person’s life and it really is rewarding to be part of a family’s healing journey. A therapist at Project Harmony has a great team of therapists around them for support. Therapists receive regular supervision and training in evidenced based models of therapy so that they can be the best therapist.
Tell us a little about your family. – I grew up an only child right here in Omaha. I am married with two school-age children and two dogs. What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I love to curl up on the couch, sit by the fire, and read a good book. I also spend a lot of time watching movies with my family.
If you could have a super power, what would it be? – I would love to have the ability to talk to animals, especially my dogs and our facility dogs Warrior and Woody.
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life? – Growing up, my grandmother and mother owned a dance studio in town. I have a lot of fond memories of my dance family and that time in my life. I really loved to tap dance. You won’t find me tapping around the office but I do occasionally take adult tap dance classes at various studios in Omaha.
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be? – I love to cook and bake and would love to own a restaurant in my next life.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – One of my all-time favorite books is Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I have read it three times.
What is your favorite local Omaha restaurant? – Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine at 46th and Dodge. Ahmad’s Tehran Chicken is my absolute favorite!
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – email@example.com; projectharmony.com.