The Light of a Coach, Paying it Forward
Finishing up a walkthrough at the Coach Counseling Center, Hulond “Coach” Copeland makes his way into his office. A computer, supplies and papers sit at his desk and right above placed on the wall is a picture of his mother, and mentor James H. Parham, whom was a certified addiction counselor, C.A.C 3, at ACI Aurora Counseling. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them.” It is here in his office where every client that walks into the door of the Coach Counseling Center is greeted by Copeland and begins the process of what Copeland says, it’s “Not an ‘I’ program but a ‘We’ program.”
While serving time in prison he put his faith first. When he was released, he soon became a drug and alcohol counselor and worked at Amend Counseling in 2008. He then became the face of ACI Aurora Counseling in 2014. It was not until departing from ACI that he rented a building and birthed his own program, Coach Counseling Center.
“When people in the dark see a light, they know that light will get them to safety. I would like to be that light in the field that I’m in.” With no actual degree, Copeland knows first–hand what many clients are going through with drug and alcohol addiction after having dealt with it himself. “I wrote my business plan in prison. I wanted to get out, become a drug and alcohol counselor and run my own program,” said Copeland. “I went through school to get here. One place even had mescrapping bird poop to get my hours, and I did it.”
Yes, people would agree that he indeed did it, seeing Copeland now, a man who walked away from prison life, changed his ways and used his past experiences to help and shed light onto others. Though, it hasn’t been easy. After being fired from ACI, the passing of his mother and losing his wife (only then to rekindle their friendship), Copeland has had his share of tough times and believes it only encouragedhim even more to not give up on what he promised himself he would do after leaving prison. He took all his savings and rented the space in the building he is in now located at 2323 S. Troy St. Building 5 #330 in Aurora.
“I was down and it is in those moments that a man can only do so much. My mom died, my wife and I had separated and I was worried about paying the rent for the center. Until one day, the owner of the building, Ben Getzel told me not to worry about the rent and to just get back on my feet and keep doing what I was doing. I couldn’t believe it!” Copeland shakes his head. “I came back to my office, laid my head down and cried my eyes out,” said Copeland.
“Don’t believe anything he says!” Getzel teases. “He’s a good guy and I believed in my instinct about him and his plans for his program and the community.”
Copeland was struggling to make ends meet and stayed homeless, sleeping in his car just to keep his center going. Copeland then reached out to his wife, Sarina Hurd, to help him one day when he had a doctor’s appointment. “She came to help and decorated everything. She said ‘Let me put a touchon this place.’ None of this would be here if she hadn’t come in. She is the one who brought furniture, made a small break room in the back, helped me get a better wardrobe - and the clients loved her,” said Copeland. Hurd has been with Copeland before Coach Counseling Center and remains at his side. “He doesn’t give up and he never will,” said Hurd. “And I’m glad he didn’t because I always believed in what he was trying to pursue and we’ve been through hard times but never did it stop him.”
Various clients visit the Coach Counseling Center, many from the courts, some recommended by friends and family and even once a Broncos player. Phillip Love, who had first met with Copeland for a session back at ACI’s DUI program in 2013, remains friends today. “What Coach does isn’t about financial gain but he has a sincere desire to dedicating himself and using his experience to help individuals surpass their addiction. He does not give up and since I have known him, he really hasn’t,” said Love.
Copeland knows the good and bad that comes with his job and shares a moment that is one of the unyielding things, yet true of being a counselor – not being able to help everyone. “I went to a funeral of a girl who once participated in the program and despite her suicide, her mother came to me and actually thanked me for being there for her daughter and trying to help. She told me her daughter said I was the one light she could see. It meant the world to me,” he said.
Copeland has a small staff - himself and two others. However, he does not let it define him or what he believes the Coach Counseling Center provides. “We get to know our clients and develop a relationship because we care. I care because unlike some of these professors,doctors and men in nice fancy suits with charts of statistics and studies, I don’t just recite from books to my clients but from the heart, and walking in the same shoes before.”
Editor’s note: For more information on the Coach Counseling Center and rates onclasses or one on one intake sessions visit www.coachcounselingcenter.com or call 303-953-0702. Like their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/coachcounselingcenter.