Levi Roop is continuing to work at one trade while he is embarking on a new profession.
The East Petersburg resident is still working as an auto body technician, a trade he's had for a decade. "I enjoy working with my hands," he said last week.
On Tuesday, September 24, he spent his first day as a counselor at Quarryville's New Hope Community Life Ministry. He will be working there every Tuesday and acquiring the hours he needs to be licensed to practice in Pennsylvania.
Roop recently earned a master's degree in counseling from Cairn University, where he also served an internship dealing with students and community members. He also served as a lay counselor with Life Ministries in Conestoga.
"The idea was to earn a general counseling degree as a base and, in the field, become more specialized," he said.
He chose his profession after his experiences as a counseling patient.
"I went for counseling myself and it was a life-changing experience," Roop said. "It was like a weight coming off."
He believes counseling as it intersects with faith and Christianity provides the best results.
"I approach life through a Biblical world view, but I am able to work with clients who aren't Christians," he said.
He is the ministry's fourth counselor, New Hope director Deb Riddell said.
"We are thankful to get a male counselor because some men are uncomfortable discussing issues with women," she said. Elaine Campbell is the ministry's licensed counselor. Kathy Brown and Mandy MacIntyre also work as counselors at New Hope.
Roop said he is looking forward to meeting New Hope's clients and learning more about the community.
When he's not working, Roop enjoys playing sports, including church league softball and ultimate Frisbee.
Before earning a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, Roop graduated from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. That's where he learned his auto body skills.
"I found I have some gifting in the area [of counseling]. I enjoy it and I have a passion for it," Roop said of his new profession.