Meet Artonyon Ingram
With 21 years in the counseling profession, Artonyon Ingram combines his educational, professional and life experiences to help families and individuals get through difficult circumstances. He’d never ask a client to do something he wouldn’t do or didn’t think was possible. He’s a well-rounded individual who has had to deal with a number of challenges himself.
When diagnosed with his disability in 1999, a nerve disorder, Tony, who served two years in the US Air Force, six years in the Army National Guard and emphasized being physically fit, found himself going through some major life changes.
"God doesn’t make mistakes and it’s made me more impactful as a counselor…and made me a better person."
Among the transitions that came with his new physical disability, Tony had to reduce the amount of hours he worked, going from full-time to part-time. In hopes of opening his own private practice, which would provide Tony the ability to make his own hours and work from his own location, he needed some basic office items, like a desk and printer. After being turned down by traditional lending institutions, he thumbed through the internet looking for an agency that worked with people with disabilities…and that’s how Tony found the Access Fund.
"What I like about the Access Fund is that they didn’t just look at my disability or my income status… they looked at the whole picture and they found a workable solution for repayment. I’ve taken out two loans and they are both almost paid off. Through the loans, I was able to get the items needed to process paperwork and do my graduate coursework. I am now participating in the IDA program where I’ll be able to offset some of the costs of opening up my private practice. I really appreciated that the Access Fund wanted what I felt comfortable with; they made it about me and I felt supported in my decisions. It’s a really great organization that’s helping me turn my dream into a reality."
Without taking enough credit for himself, Tony is making a difference in the lives of people in our community. He first worked with at-risk youth, to adults in transition and currently works with a variety of people but focuses on families in hardship. The biggest thing is about being a role-model. While it wasn’t always easy working with at-risk youth, Tony still has some of his clients come back to talk to him years later.
As a state certified counselor, Tony is currently doing contract work for the Department of Social and Health Services. He is enrolled full-time in a graduate program for his second master’s degree and has maintained a 3.8 GPA. He anticipates obtaining a M.S. in Mental Health Counseling by the fall of 2013 through Walden University. He will be completing his residency in Atlanta this fall. Working hard is nothing new to Tony; already under his belt is a B.S. in Business Administration (with a concentration in Psychology) from Barton College in North Carolina and a M.S. in Education of Guidance Counseling from City University of Seattle.