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The Story of
Muriel Kennedy, PhD

My Mission…My Ministry…My Calling

In elementary school it became apparent to me that I was struggling with reading, and I was placed in a special reading group along with a few of my peers. I took great pride in being pulled out of the larger group and placed in a subgroup in the classroom, having special attention given to my reading challenges. I was especially pleased that my academic needs were being addressed without my being stigmatized or feeling that I was not as smart as my peers who had mastered the art of reading. After being given the extra attention, I was promoted along with my peers, and I was able to thrive academically.

I am extremely blessed to have had an Algebra 1 teacher who believed in me and focused on my strengths in math and science.

These strengths allowed me to compensate for my challenges with reading, as I developed confidence in my ability to succeed at whatever I put my mind to. It is my life’s mission to inspire others to be the best that they can possibly be by equipping them with the necessary skills to successfully address challenges and overcome barriers that they may face across settings. The work that I do is my calling. I was called into the field of clinical psychology in 1990 which resulted in my resigning from my job as an engineer with the Department of the Navy, Charleston Naval Shipyard to pursue my advanced degrees in clinical psychology at Howard University. I, subsequently, received my Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in May of 1993 and December of 1995, respectively.

I have a very diverse clinical background, in that I’ve worked in school, home, and community-based settings, at a pastoral counseling center, and conducted forensic interviews with children suspected of being sexually abuse. I, also, have worked as a multi-systemic therapy consultant and extensively with military populations, as a military family life consultant and State behavioral health officer for the District of Columbia. Academically and administratively, I’ve taught at the university level and also served as an associate director of training. In 2009, I was called to join the United States Army Reserve. I, subsequently, deployed to Afghanistan where I served as the officer-in-charge of a combat operational stress control clinic.

In 2018, I was once again led to resign from a fulltime position in order to focus more fully on my writing while pursuing my passion and God-ordained purpose (which allowed me the time and flexibility needed to focus on my business). I also was able to complete and publish the fourth book in the Jamaal series.

I began writing the Jamaal series, in 2000, with the first book in the series being published in 2006. The second and third books were published in 2007 and 2011, respectively. Book four in the series was published in 2018. The Jamaal series is a compilation of true-to-life scenarios that was inspired by my experiences as a clinical psychologist in working with vulnerable children, youth and their families. The books in the Jamaal series are therapeutic in nature, and books one, two, and three are written in dialogue format (i.e., as a play) with discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Books in the Jamaal series are designed to support educational outcomes in the area of social emotional development, reading comprehension, spelling, and writing utilizing real-world scenarios, with emphasis on 1) effective communications, perspective taking and relationship building; 2) empathy, compassion and forgiveness; and 3) critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills. These are critical skills that are necessary to navigate one’s environment and succeed in life. As such, I am praying that I will receive the funds required to convert the Jamaal series into game-based learning modules for youth between the ages of 8 and 18 years. If you are interested in supporting this effort and/or learning more about the Jamaal series, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank You and God Bless!!

I have served in leadership positions with the East River Family Strengthening Collaborative, Inc., board of directors and The Association of Black Psychologists, Inc., executive board at the local and national levels. I also have remained very active in various ministries at my church, with a history of working with the homeless and street ministry, counseling ministry, ministry of visitation, transportation ministry, P.U.S.H. prayer ministry, usher ministry, and veterans assistance ministry.

While at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, I was blessed to complete my first year contextual education experience with the Church of the Common Ground, ministry with the unhoused, on the streets of Atlanta. And, I will be completing my second year contextual education experience with the Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center where the stated mission is that of “uniting Georgia’s people of faith to educate, empower and advocate for the common good.”

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