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Lafayette Parish School System

Joy is an Inside Job!

Counselor Back to School Inservice Days

July 31, 2024 - August 1, 2024
8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

You are invited to attend!

School Counselors from Lafayette Parish School System are invited to attend training and inspiration from Dr. Loren Dittmar and Julia Cook. Come be refreshed and invigorated to continue the important work you are doing. For the full schedule see below.

Also, all School Counselors will receive a COMPLIMENTARY BOOKSTORE VOUCHER to be used to shop at the on-site NCYI Resource Fair.

With grateful appreciation to Youngsville Community Church for hosting!

4129 Verot School Road
Youngsville, LA 70592



Loren Dittmar headshot

Loren Dittmar

Dr. Loren Dittmar is a Professional School Counselor with 22 years of experience, including 17 years in schools and 5 years in clinical settings. He is the Director of School Counseling at a Title 1 high school in Charleston, SC. Loren is also an adjunct professor with 8 years of teaching experience. He is the current Director of the Emerging Leaders Program for the Palmetto State School Counselors Association and Co-Director of the PSSCA annual conference.  Dr. Dittmar previously served on the Board of Directors of the California Association of School Counselors, and with his PhD in Psychology, he served as their lead expert in the development of the mental health section of the website.

Dr. Dittmar is a sought-after conference presenter on the topics of school mental health and suicide prevention. With his personal and professional experiences of loss due to suicide, his audiences not only have an incredibly moving experience, but walk away with practical tools and resources.

Loren has been married for 13 years to his wife, Cami, and they have 4 children, ages 9 through 20. Together they have fostered several children and their journey of raising an ‘expanded version’ of a family has brought a unique and real-world perspective to Loren’s presentations on various educational topics.

The impact of the pandemic is ongoing and our students (and families) need more support for their mental health than ever before.  Attendees who are willing to dig deep, and possibly get a bit emotional, are invited to join this session to engage in a valuable discussion about the school counselor’s leading role in these preventative efforts, by exploring current research and best practices

Click title to expand for the session description

Julia Cooke headshot

Julia Cook

Julia Cook, M.S. is a national award-winning children’s author, counselor, and parenting expert. She has presented in thousands of schools nationally and internationally, regularly speaks at education and counseling conferences, and has published almost one hundred children’s books on a wide range of character and social development topics. The goal behind Cook’s work is to actively involve young people in fun, memorable stories and teach them to become lifelong problem solvers. Inspiration for her books comes from working with children and carefully listening to counselors, parents, and teachers, in order to stay on top of needs in the classroom and at home. Cook has the innate ability to enter the worldview of a child through storybooks, giving children both the “what to say” and the “how to say it.”

Are you a Friday school counselor or a Monday school counselor? Friday school counselors can’t wait to get out of the building at the end of the week, while Monday school counselors can’t wait to get back to school after the weekend.

Joy may be one of the biggest differentiating factors.

The demands on school counselors often feels overwhelming. Each day we are confronted with behavioral issues, inequity, suicidal ideation, and diversity challenges…and that’s on top of working with students on future career options and post-secondary education, and keeping track of all the data and documentation. Meanwhile, student mental health issues are on the rise. It can be an easy recipe for discouragement and overload.

When the school counseling tidal wave begins to swell, how do you stand strong and continue to pour out the
encouragement, wisdom, and support your students need?

In this heartfelt, engaging talk, Julia Cook shares what it’s taken her years to figure out. Happiness is momentary, but Joy is a constant state of contentment that is not shifted by the chaos around us. Through stories and practical steps, Julia teaches us how to shift our thinking and actions so that we can:

  • Move from looking for temporary happiness to finding long-term joy
  • Develop a process for self-care that inhibits burnout and compassion fatigue
  • Inspire others to find their own inner joy
  • Be a school counselor who looks forward to Mondays
  • Joy is the magic that shifts perspectives and helps us maintain passion and purpose, even in the hard seasons.


Joy is the gift that keeps on giving…to you and everyone around you. In this special talk from Julia, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry… and you’ll leave with a plan for growing in joy, finding fresh meaning in your work, and supporting those who need you most.

Click title to expand for the session description




August 1, 2024 Only

All School Counselors in attendance will receive a COMPLIMENTARY COUPON to shop the NCYI Resource Fair at the conference!

This is an opportunity for you to personally review and purchase curriculum, activity and small group manuals, books, videos, DVDs and CDs. NCYI has the newest and best guidance resource materials available from America’s foremost publishers in Classroom Guidance, Character Education, Bullying Prevention / Intervention, Anger Management, Conflict Resolution, Separation Issues, Grief Recovery, Learning Disabilities and Social Skills Training.

Save on shipping and handling – You can save 5% to 8% by purchasing from the on-site display and taking the resources with you, which eliminates shipping and handling charges! On-site discounts will also be offered.

Specialty savings on overstock items – Save 50% or more off the retail price of a unique selection of overstock items.

NCYI accepts all major credit cards, personal checks, purchase orders, and even cash for additional purchases! If you have building level funds available, you can use a school purchase order.

Hero Speaker-people shopping

Practical Guidance Resources Educators Can Trust

National Center for Youth Issues, or NCYI, is a national non-profit organization that publishes and distributes guidance resource materials for schools. In addition to publishing its own publications, NCYI represents over 40 different publishers of educational resources. They also provide training opportunities for educators through on-site training services, as well as regional and state-wide conferences.



National Center for Youth Issues
P.O. Box 22185
Chattanooga, TN 37422-2185