Autumn Temple, winner of the WISE Women of Blair County 2012 award for Business & Professional work, rarely measures the success in her career by her own accomplishments.
Rather, the 37-year-old Altoona native and professional counselor at Living Well Behavioral Health gauges how her work positively affects other people before calling it a triumph.
When asked about her biggest accomplishments, Temple will much sooner speak about the 16-year-old she helped get through a personal crisis and get into college than she will about her own master's degrees, or being one of the first in her family to even receive a bachelor's degree.
Mirror photo by Patrick?Waksmunksi
WISE?Women of Blair County 2012 Business and Professional Award winner Autumn Temple works at Living Well Behavioral Health, Altoona.
"That is success, not making a difference in my life, but if I can make a difference in someone else's," Temple said. "That difference will continue well beyond my life's existence."
Temple's life has not been without its own adversity. Brought up in a welfare-dependent family and becoming a teen mom, Temple learned early on that everyone needs help at some point.
"That's the reason I can be so successful and help other people, because of the support other people are providing me," she said. "None of my successes are because I did it alone."
Involvement in organizations like Teen Link, Child Advocates or Blair County and Head Start helped steer her into making social service a full-time career, driving her to get degrees in both human services and social work. Beverly Hmel, a clinical psychologist for Living Well Behavioral Health, couldn't be happier she made this decision.
"I don't know if we would be doing what we do here without her because she is a great motivation and encourager," Hmel said, adding that Temple also sees clients pro bono, and is a wealth of other information and resources.
"Those who have a need, she knows where to get the need met," Hmel said. "She's not going to let them do without something if she can provide it, and that's the priority for her. It's an awesome way to look at the world."
Aside from her on-the-clock service, Temple volunteers for organizations like The Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary, the Kris Kringle Project and Zack's Giving Garden. She's also recently gotten into buying, remodeling and then gifting homes to families in need of a place to live.
Seeing their mother so willing to help others has also rubbed off on her three sons, Nathaniel Port, 19; Zachary Port-Temple, 12; and Shane Temple, 9, who was adopted at age 4 after Temple took care of him as a foster child.
"For them, they've seen me do it so often that it's like, 'OK, I'll jump in,'" Temple said. "That is an accomplishment, to let your kids know that there are things they can do for the community, that there is a world outside yourself."
Temple hopes that, from her story, people can learn how to not only be successful, but that the "average" person can do it also.
Hmel disagreed with Temple's view of herself.
"I truly have never met anyone like her," Hmel said of Temple. "I've never met anyone who gives as much energy, time, physical resources, financial resources ... she exhausts me watching her."
Though she may not admit it, Temple has tangible proof from a 16-year-old girl she helped of her ability to empower other women in the community, and ultimately become a role model.
"She wanted to go into forensics when I first met her, but then she came in and started asking about becoming a therapist," Temple said. "It didn't really click until the end of the conversation when she looked at me and said, 'Is that what you did, Autumn?' Like [saying] I want to be like you and I want to do what you do. So she's going to school and wants to be a therapist."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.