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"What comes to your mind when you think of a warm hearth?", Joan McKirachen asked.
"Oh, I guess 'comfort', 'safety', feeling fully alive'", I ventured.
"Good, yes, well, I can't really remember why we called it 'warm hearth' except that it seemed like Fred.

Fred was the Reverend Fred McKirachan, Joan's husband, in whose honor and memory HAMFT created the Warm Health Fund.  Fred was a Presbyterian minister who was highly committed to personal growth experiences and human relations training, particularly for therapists and clergy.  He was trained in group work and pastoral counseling through the Center for Creative Living and Spiritual Growth in Georgia, and went on to establish an ongoing personal growth program at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church as part of his pastoral ministry there.  He was also a consultant with the Episcopal Church's Association for Creative Change through its local affiliate, Consultant-Trainers Southwest.
When Fred died in July of 1988, his close friends and colleagues wanted to remember him in a way that honored his passion and commitment to therapists' ongoing personal development.  The HAMFT Board embraced an idea originated by Bob Stecker and created the Warm Hearth Fund in Fred's memory.  And in fact, it was Bob's wife, Beth Stecker, who had originated the notion of the "warm hearth", so in a way, the fund honored Beth's memory as well.  The fund was established with the purpose of encouraging HAMFT members to engage in continuing education experiences that had an emphasis on personal growth.  Warm Hearth scholarships are intended to be used primarily to supplement tuition and/or workshop fees. 
To date, there have been only a few criteria established for the use of the fund. The maximum amount granted is $300. To be eligible, one must be a member for at least 6 months and must be an active participant at workshops as evidenced by attending 3 workshops within a 6 month period. An applicant must put in writing the specific amount requested and to what the amount will be applied. The applicant is also asked to include a statement as to how the training is expected to benefit the HAMFT member as well as how the scholarship would make this experience more accessible to the member. Finally, the scholarship recipient is asked to write a brief summary of the experience for the HAMFT Newsletter, with an emphasis on how the experience impacted the recipient.

As Joan McKirachan described the originators' intent, it was to make it more likely that members would take advantage of the personal growth opportunities through the offering of financial assistance.  When Joan learned that the Warm Hearth Fund was in healthy financial condition, she offered that not only is it "better used than not used", but that each time it is used, Fred's memory is honored and his hopes brought to fruition. HAMFT's hope, therefore, is that Fred's legacy will thus be celebrated many times during the coming year.  So, what comes to YOUR mind with the mention of a warm hearth?

If you would like to submit a request for a scholarship from the Fund in order to attend a continuing education experience, please fill out the form below and email to Social Media Director.

Warm Hearth Fund Application

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