School of Arts and Sciences

M.A. in Clinical-Community Psychology Student Creates Nonprofit to Help People in Need

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Pictured is M.A. in clinical-community psychology student Orlandria Parker. | Photo submitted by ParkerMeet Orlandria Smith

Job title: Executive Director
Organization: Connect With Your Heart
Degree pursuing: Master of Arts in Clinical-Community Psychology 
Expected graduation: Summer 2018
Degrees earned: B.A. in Psychology, Point Park University, 2016; and Associate of Science in in Liberal Arts, Community College of Allegheny County, 2013
Hometown: Johnstown, Pa.
High school: Cross Creek High School in Augusta, Ga.
Now living in: Baldwin Borough of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Hobbies/interests: I enjoy reading, arts and crafts and gardening. Being a community and mental health advocator is a passion of mine. I’m interested in integrating these two fields in my future work as a psychologist. I am fascinated with the idea of understanding the complexities of being a human being while searching for commonalities that promote love, humanity and unity.   
Twitter: @cocobeauty_101 (Orlandria) and @CWYH01 (Connect With Your Heart)
LinkedIn: Orlandria Smith

Tell us about the nonprofit organization you created and the work you do.

Connect With Your Heart is a community-based organization that seeks to fulfill basic human needs, reduce crime in impoverished communities and provide an environment that encourages love and unity, through acts of humanity. 

I have created three programs under CWYH:

  • Talking Out Loud: TOL encourages and asks for participants to step outside of their comfort zones and engage in necessary, yet difficult, conversations on racism, politics, discrimination, etc. through social media discussions on Wednesdays and Fridays. My goal is to create meaningful dialogues with the hopes of broadening people's awareness and understanding of the complexities of what it means to be a human being. Also, it is my hope that this platform encourages participants to take stances on important issues and help people in need.
  • Our Future: The purpose of this program is to re-establish hope and shed light on the lack of resources within communities throughout Pittsburgh. Through family workshops, my goal is to motivate young adults to focus on their future by highlighting the importance of education, hope, self-determination and self motivation. 
  • Creating Lights: Creating Lights is an activity-based program for people of all ages. My intention is to showcase cultural diversity by introducing several forms of art (painting, sculpting, music, poetry, creative writings, etc.) and giving participants a platform to highlight their talents and creative skills within the community.

I am also working on creating an intersectionality-based documentary.

"Orlandria's passion for social justice is impressive. She's highly motivated to make important social changes, and she's got just the kind of spark needed to ignite a movement. We are proud to have her as a student in the Master of Arts in clinical-community psychology program."

-- Jill Thomas, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology


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"I have been inspired by all of my professors at Point Park … They have not only equipped me with both hands-on experiences and knowledge, but also contributed to the genuine love and passion that I have for the psychology field."

-- Orlandria Smith


What factors made you choose Point Park’s M.A. in clinical-community psychology program?

While completing my undergraduate degree in psychology at Point Park University, I fell in love with the program’s ideology and holistic approach. I found myself to be both inspired and motivated to further my education within the University that has molded my beliefs of humanistic psychology so I decided to enroll in the M.A. in clinical-community psychology program.

Who or what inspired your passion for this field?

Growing up, I knew I wanted to pursue a career that genuinely helped, motivated and inspired others. I watched my aunt, who is a nurse, and saw how much her patients deeply moved her and instilled in her an authentic love for others. However, nursing is not for me.

Through my family, a professor at CCAC and experience working on an abdominal transplant unit, I've learned that unifying hope prevails in environments with empathy and willingness. Still, the world lacks humanity, hope, empathy and love so that's why I've decided to further my education and experience in psychology so that I not only learn to address the immediate needs of individuals who are overcoming great odds, but that I might better understand how to help people help themselves.   

How have Point Park faculty helped you professionally?

I have been inspired by all of my professors at Point Park. In their own unique ways, they have all offered me opportunities to examine foundational and current theories and gain knowledge of human thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They have not only equipped me with both hands-on experiences and knowledge, but also contributed to the genuine love and passion that I have for the psychology field.

What are your career goals?

My career goal is to become a private clinical psychologist and activist.

Final thoughts?

I look forward to learning and continuing to grow so that I might be more of a help to others, providing a safe environment where people can explore opportunities for change, life goals and possibilities that have not yet been imagined.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."

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