Dennis Hughes
Dennis HughesMasters of Counseling Intern

My name is Dennis Hughes, a Master of Counseling Student with Project Ember. I met the founder of Project Ember Counseling, Kyle Bridgman, in 2008 while working with teenagers in New Mexico at a residential care facility.

As a teenager, I had a strong desire to work with teenagers as a career choice and felt I would do so for the rest of my life. I attended Central Bible College (Now Evangel University) and graduated with a double major in Youth and Bible. I spent a few years during and after graduation as Youth Pastor. In 2002 my wife and I headed to New Mexico to begin an almost 15-year journey working with youth in a residential setting. I spent 3 ½ years working as a House Parent. I worked in the site’s private school for the next 7 and a half years fulfilling the role of registrar and Education Administrator. The 4 years was spent working in administration with maintenance over buildings and vehicles and new staff training. The most important thing for me during the time in management was to still have direct contact with the youth. I was able to do this by working alongside them in the work program and mentoring capacities. The past 4 years I have spent time working with youth at TwoCor Projects and Kids Crossing, both programs focusing on work training and life skills support. In addition to vocational training, the goal of helping youth heal was met through experiential activities, group discussions, work-based training, and attending to their trauma histories, managing stress, anxiety, and depression, and working through addiction.

Now here I am at Project Ember Counseling! I have studied trauma and brain development through seminars, staff trainings, and books. I believe past experiences do shape us, but they don’t have to define us. We can have traumatic things happen in our lives but hopefully the memory of that is a brief visit and not extended stay.