Adolescent Consultation Services

ACS Annual Event 2012 - Honoring Lia Poorvu

November 12, 2012

ACS honored Lia G. Poorvu for her 10 years of service as Board President on November 14, 2012 at the Historic Union Club of Boston. Friends, donors, and colleagues joined together to celebrate Lia for her vision and passionate advocacy on behalf of court-involved children and families. ACS clinician Dr. Elizabeth Shepherd illustrated some of ACS’s work through a client story and Children’s Hospital neurologist Dr. David Urion spoke on the adolescent brain.

Honoring Lia

Rebecca Pries, ACS Executive Director, began the evening by thanking everyone for their enduring support for ACS and the life-transforming services ACS provides to hundreds of children each year. She explained that ACS is uniquely situated to provide services for one child, one family at a time because of the special training ACS clinicians receive, and because of the support of everyone in the room. She especially recognized Lia Poorvu for being a “life-transforming agent of growth and change for ACS and a stalwart friend since 1981.”

Fran Miller, current ACS Board President, presented Lia with a certificate honoring Lia’s 10 years as Board President. She gave an emotional account of how Lia fearlessly promotes ACS’s work through her vision, passion, and advocacy. Watching Lia through the years has been “truly incredible.” Only one quote could adequately describe Lia: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” Roxann Cooke, ACS Development Chair, described Lia’s foresight for development. She recounted that Lia spearheaded the Fund for the Future, ACS’s sustainability fund. The board “enthusiastically, overwhelmingly, and unanimously” voted to rename the fund: the Lia G. Poorvu Fund for the Future.

A former client of ACS, Michael Lafleur, presented Lia with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of all the kids ACS has helped over the years. He was going through a rough time when he came to ACS, he noted. And when he was running out of options, Rebecca counseled him and connected him with vital services.

What on Earth were You Thinking? -- Inside the Teenage Brain

In the second part of the evening, entitled “What on earth were you thinking?”, attendees had the opportunity to learn about how adolescent decision-making processes are affected by brain development. Dr. Elizabeth Shepherd, a psychologist at ACS, presented “Christopher,” a case that highlighted issues of adolescent decision making. She explained the incidents that led to “Christopher’s” arrests, describing his thought process, as well as his reasoning for his actions.

Dr. David Urion, the evening’s keynote speaker, elaborated on the neuropsychological processes of the developing adolescent brain. He discussed the gender-based developmental differences, and touched upon the effects of some street drugs on the brain. Dr. Urion also noted the difference between automatic and controlled processing in the brain, and how the ability to switch between these processing types impacts the brain’s ability to multitask. The adolescent brain has great working memory, but a slow processing speed, thus making it difficult for adolescents to multitask cognitively.

Rebecca Pries closed by saying, "Thank you, Lia, for giving ACS clients and their families breath and strength and vision and hope for over 30 years."