About Jessenia Ogunade, LMSW
Adversity takes many shapes, here are a few that shaped me…
As a first generation Afro Latina woman born to immigrant Dominican parents, I had the best of both worlds, even if I didn’t realize it as a young girl growing up in the Bronx during the 1970s. At home, I was surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of my parent’s native land. But outside I had to navigate the pressure to assimilate and adapt to the world around me that shared different customs, language and beliefs. I grew up in a tough environment and like many Americans struggling today, things did not come easy for us. Overcoming adversity was less of a choice and more of a necessity. While I would not wish hardship on anyone, these challenges shaped the career path that would lead me to this moment. I wanted more and I knew that I had to leave the “comfort of my block” in order to do that. I went on to graduate with my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Marist College and obtain my Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University with my licensure as a Certified Social Worker in 1999.
Nurturing healing before it becomes a problem
As a retired New York City Police Officer and a licensed mental health clinician, I have seen people struggle at every level. One thing that stood out to me was that if people are given a chance to heal, they can find their own strength and shape their lives in meaningful ways. After years of witnessing the inconsistency among our mental health and criminal justice systems, I decided to create a space where I could work with people before the need arises.
Giving children a fighting chance
My interests has always relied on my work with children and adolescents. I believe strongly that if we lay the foundation for a child to learn healthy ways to express and manage their behavior it can positively impact their view on the world around them. Today’s youth are dealing with pressures we never faced and at a larger scale. They’re bombarded with conflicting messages at school, at home and with friends. These messages often cause difficulty in peer relations, family, self-identity and the list goes on. However, I also know from personal experience that children are resilient and capable of growth given the right tools and support.
Communities at the edge
There are voices in America demanding to be heard and seen. I formed Larimar Counseling and Consulting Services as a place for all. We welcome members of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA and first responder community. Together we can foster the ability to harness our emotions and shape new realities for ourselves and our communities.