Barbosa talks about mentoring, counseling


Posted Dec 28, 2016 at 10:51 PMUpdated Dec 28, 2016 at 10:51 PM



Meet Maria P. Barbosa, the newest member of the Flagler County School Board.

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PALM COAST - On Nov. 22, Maria P. Barbosa took her seat on the Flagler County School Board, replacing long-time member Sue Dickinson. She is only the second board member to represent District 5 since the century began.

Recently, Barbosa sat down with The Daytona Beach News-Journal to talk about her background in business and her volunteering, as well as questions that have arisen regarding the status of her doctoral degree and the scope of her counseling service.


Barbosa earned her business degree in her native Portugal and went to work for a major construction firm. When she was 21, she moved to Newark, New Jersey, where she worked in a sewing factory and later at Johnson & Johnson. She opened her International Boutique while in the Garden State, an experience she still fondly recalls.

"You met all the wonderful designers, the people who designed for Macy's and JC Penney - I spoke with many people from that level," she said. "It was just unbelievable, a good experience."

Then, 17 years ago, she and her husband, Jack, moved to Florida.

They have launched - and subsequently sold - eight businesses since arriving in Flagler County, including a kitchen cabinet business, restaurants, a salon and a bakery.


With such a diverse business background, perhaps it's no surprise that so many of Barbosa's volunteering efforts involve some kind of mentoring.

She has given her time to the Kiwanis Key Club, the Boys and Girls Club Summer Camp, Terrific Kids and the A Game Camp held last summer, to name a few.

She also founded DIVAS International, an empowerment organization for women. (DIVAS stands for Devotion, Integrity, Victory, Assurance and Strength.) In addition to its range of community projects, DIVAS International is a parent organization for T-Club, a teen service and empowerment group.

Another initiative Barbosa offers under the DIVAS flag is the Advanced Clinical Coach Educational Leadership (ACCEL) Institute, which trains and certifies "life coaches," though this service is not free.

"To me, if you have a gift and you can give to others, do so; do not hold it for yourself," she said when asked about her commitment to volunteering. She added that she felt blessed and wants to give back to the community and help others.


Barbosa has faced some questions about her counseling service and qualifications.

In answer, she read a prepared statement: "My theology degree is the question at large! It was not to my understanding my credentials to serve my community as a School Board member would create a media disturbance. I am a bilingual parent and advocate. I understand the challenges for some children, and I hope to diversify positive changes and bring families together."

Barbosa was awarded a doctoral degree in Christian clinical counseling in 2008 from Orlando-based Florida Christian University, which has not been accredited by any of the main accreditation agencies. She received a clinical counselor's license from the U.S. Agency for Christian Counseling Credentials and Accreditation.

Her license is not with the state of Florida, but she offers counseling services in conformity with the same Florida statute that allows priests, ministers, rabbis and other religious leaders to offer spiritual guidance - as opposed to mental health counseling.

This means she cannot provide counseling specifically for post-traumatic stress disorder or sexual identity issues, two services she flat-out denies providing. She also said she does not use hypnosis or offer family therapy.

ACCEL Director Orjenette Bryant said everything Barbosa does is biblically based. Bryant, who has worked with her on various volunteer projects, described Barbosa's parenting workshop.

"She is basically saying, 'OK, let's look at who these kids are; let's evaluate their personalities and see if we can come up with some good character traits to help them become leaders,'" Bryant said. "That's nothing outside of Christian therapy counseling. Nothing different."

Barbosa pointed out that her affiliation with Alpha Christian Counseling Services of Central Florida could be a source of some confusion. Other counselors associated with that organization may offer those services, though she said she does not.

One stipulation the law makes for spiritual counselors is that they must be affiliated with an established church, denomination or sect. Barbosa has been a member of the American Ministries Association as a Christian counselor/minister since November 2007.

"What they are saying is if you work at Christian counseling, you have to be connected with a church ministry," she said. "That is the procedure you need to follow. That means I am following it."


Even when Barbosa talks about her goals while serving on the School Board, mentoring comes up.

"Business needs to give more to the schools, be mentors," she said. "They would be good mentors, especially the owners of businesses, if they get involved more with the children. I think that would be important."

She said she also wants to increase communication between staff and parents.

Asked what inspired her to seek a seat on the board, she said, "It is my giving to the community. Always, I give so much of myself to all the children in the community, and I thought that would be an opportunity also to help even more."




Note: Please focus to the message not to the structural.  



My name is Maria P. Barbosa and I am running for Flagler School Board district 5, in 2016   I have been a resident and homeowner here for almost sixteen years. My husband is Jack Barbosa, mother and a grandmother to 9 grandchildren. I am a native of Portugal.  I immigrated to the United States. I lived in New Jersey for 16 years, soon after I moved here to Flagler County where I have lived for the past seventeen years.  

Professional background:   Entrepreneur for 26 years working in small and big businesses-restaurants and retail stores.  14 years as a property manager.   7 years working as a not for profit consultant.   Currently working as a Coordinator-advisor to the T-Club Teens sponsored by the D.I.V.A.S International.  I possess a PhD in Christian Counseling and am licensed as a Clinical Christian Counselor  Author of ACCEL Educational Leadership.   I’m an artist and an advocate for Flagler County residents.    

Why am’ I running for school board?  I want to continue to dedicate my unique perspective as I serve my community, students, teachers, and parents by contributing my leadership, talents, and passion to help our students achieve educational excellence and be good citizens.   

My goal: I want to be the voice of parents, teachers and the whole community to make the schools a better, safer place for our children and grandchildren. I also believe that the board must play a leadership role in encouraging involvement in school affairs. Parents must understand the educational process and participate with their children to ensure great educational outcomes for all or our students. It is also important to keep all our residents informed and involved in our schools.  

My passion:  I am deeply satisfied when I see a child succeed in school and life.  I want to help all our children do better! As teen’s coordinator and adviser of a few local clubs, my greatest joy is being involved in the children’s lives. Visiting the schools, seeing our children succeed, and watching them thrive is what I love to do. I will focus on the following: 

 Meet the needs of all students

 Voice for parents and teacher and students

 Insuring quality learning

 Keep local tax burdens down

 Work to defeat high testing (high stakes)  

 Resist unfunded mandates  

 Keeping class sizes small

 Providing valuable support for teachers and staff 

 Prevent bullying. Bullying is a serious problem with long-lasting effects that can be part of the root causes of criminal behaviour and academic failure Bullying also causes low self-esteem and suicide  

Active member  * I am the founder of D.I.V.A.S International  *Past-president of Flagler Palm Coast Kiwanis. I am and advisor to the Kiwanis Key-Club of FPC High School, 2016/2017 Lt. Governor-elect of Kiwanis International Division 7.  *Board director of US  U.S. Agency for Christian Counselling Credentials and Accreditations *Vice-President of marketing of Alpha Christian Counselling (Orland FL) *Membership director of United Way Women/Initiative of Flagler County.  *Board Director of Garden Club of Palm Coast   *Member of NAMP North-American Association of Masters in Psychology and the American Ministers Association *Member of Faith Base of The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, and Chaplain of International of Christian Chaplains *Member of “AAUW” American Association University Women, *Portuguese Club and the Hispanic Club *Palm Coast Arts Foundation *Member of Flagler County Branch NAAPC and others    

I am always involved in community service. Not just because I think it is important, but because it is something I enjoy doing. Let’s all help our children! 

Please remember to VOTE! Don’t forget to vote for School Board members in 2016! This is the most basic way you can help our Flagler students! School Board Elections are in the August Primary! 

A Special thank you! I've met so many great people over the last few years! I've gotten to spend time with many of you. Thanks again for everything you do. Please feel free to call me if you have questions or would like to volunteer to help me. You may reach by (e-mail), (facebook page) (Google +) (LikedIn) and (Twitter). 








From the bottom of my heart I do thank all and every voter, friends and family who was there for me; by campaigning and passing the cards, yard signs and other materials to Flagler County citizens to vote for me.

Thank you for your support and help at the election polls.






I am an entrepreneur and business person and have managed small and large businesses. I have successfully run many enterprises. I have a degree in Business, bookkeeping. I also have a PHD in Christian Counseling. I also work with non-profit organizations to help them succeed. Currently I am working with T-Club Teens, Flagler Palm Coast Kiwanis Key Club (a leadership program for students sponsored by the Kiwanis) and founder and C.E.O. of D.I.V.A.S. International.

I am always volunteering in different community organizations and projects. Some of these include; Kiwanis Children’s Summer Camp, Terrific Kids, A-Game Summer Camp at Buddy Taylor Middle School, Boys and Girls Club Summer Camp at Bunnell Elementary School, WIF Women/Initiative, The Florida Department of DJJ, NAAPC, AAUW Florida, Vice-Chair of Commission on Homelessness for Volusia & Flagler Counties and too many others to mention.

I bring knowledge as a business woman and author of ACCEL youth leadership that no one else has. Through entrepreneur perspective, which is valuable when making decisions on important policy issues such as budgets, teacher support, training, evaluations, job descriptions, materials to adopt, instructional programs, curriculum, standards, and after-school intervention programs.    

Education: I have a degree in Business, I also have a PHD in Christian Clinical Counseling, Bachelor in Theology Pastoral Leadership, FCU,  (3 Years 1/2) Theology Course EETAD Assemblies of God and ACCEL Life Skills Certification. 


Startup Quest/ Entrepreneurship training, Florida works/ USF 

Business International Couse, UCF Florida

Recognition of accomplishments of Psychology, Northamerican Association of Masters in Psychology, NAMP

Effective Grant Writing Tips for Substance Abuse Coalitions in Orlando, FADAA

Interministry International Couse, FCU Florida

Counseling International Seminar Participation, FCU

International Certified Christian Chaplain, IFCC

Life Skills Training, Daytona State College

Customer Service Training, Daytona State College

Personal Developed Coach, ACCEL                                                                             

Notary Public State of Florida

Certified Pastor Clergy, WCM

Christian Counseling Minister, American Ministers Association

Cyber Bullying/Bullying in the Digital Age, FADAA

DJJ the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice/ volunteer Chaplains Training Couse

#1,2,3,4 Recognizing parents use of Alcohol and Drugs including nonmedical use of prescription drugs, FADAA

#1,2 Domestic Violence training, USACCCA

Strategies for Integrating Domestic Violence and Homeless Services, NCFH

Child Welfare and Domestic Violence Issues, USF university of South Florida

Introduction Trauma Informed Care, SEDNET

Understanding the Impact of Trauma in the Lives of Displaced Families, NCFH

Closing the Gap, A Toolkit for Transitional Housing Programs, NCFH

Roles & Responsibilities of Non-Profit Board member, UW

Board engagement in fundraising, UW

Medications for Mental Illness and the Temperament in the Christian Clinical practice, USACCCA

Attended the earned Medication-Assisted Treatment in Substance Use Disorders, FADAA

The Temperament in the Clinical practice, ACCCSCF

Legal Issues in Christian Counseling, Confidentiality and Medical errors and introduction to Christian Brief strategic family Therapy, USACCCA

Brief Strategic Family Therapy, USACCCA

Family Brief Strategic Therapy, USACCCA

Alternative Medicines for mental illness and sexual transmitted deceases in the Christian Clinical practice, USACCCA

The connection between substance and child maltreatment

Effective treatment for substance use Disorders (SUD) and the role can play

Screening and Assessment of substance of use Disorder (SUDs)

Sustainability of Florida efforts to reduce underage Alcohol use, FADAA

Evidence Based Practice for Trauma and/or Substance Abuse in Jacksonville FL, FADAA

Pandemic Flu, ESS Disaster Response

Earthquake, ESS Disaster Response

Flood, ESS Disaster Response

Hurricane, ESS Disaster Response

Wildfire, ESS Disaster Response

Attended the making the Integrated Services work: Building on Successful Model, FADAA

Assessing System of Care Expansion, FADAA

Understanding Substance Use, Abuse, Dependence and Associated Harms, FADAA

Attended the Medication Assisted Treatment as the Standard of Care for Opiate Dependent Pregnant Women, FADAA

Attended the Webinar Challenges and Opportunities for the Use of Medications to Treat Chronic Opioid Addiction in the United State, FADAA

Attending the Social Marketing Tips, Tools, Best Practices and Measurement workshop, FADAA

Attended the Integrated Care: A Golden Opportunity for Prevention and Wellness, FADAA

Recognizing Parental Use of Alcohol and Drugs, FADAA

HIPPA Training, DCF

Functional Assessment Rating Scale, DCF

Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect, DCF

Improving Care Coordination for Persons with Substance Use Disorders and/or Serious Mental Illness, FADAA and others…













T-Club Teens Club of Flagler County


Boy and Girls Club with ACCEL Leadership Project "Flagler Voices" 



A game Camp: Congratulations to all Students who did Graduate from (A) Game Summer Camp.. I'm so proud of all because you all work very hard. Thank you!


Key Club


Terrific Kids Program 


K-Kids Club



Dr. Maria Barbosa was 2014-2015 President of FPC Kiwnais Club

2016-2017 Lt. Governor of Kiwanis Florida International Division 7


2015: Thanks to the generosity of Flagler Palm Coast Kiwanis membership, our donation/pledge of $24,750 to Kiwanis International has helped to save the lives of 13,750 at risk women and all their future children. The Awards been presented last Friday, September 25th, 2015 at our 38th Anniversary Awards & Officers Installation dinner held at Pine Lakes Restaurant at the grand Club. 

With honor Dr. Barbosa presented to Al Jones “Kiwanis of the Year 2015 Award” Al Jones is a retired United States Army Intelligence Officer, and belongs to the Flagler County Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America. He also served on the Flagler County Board of Commissioners. Al is a long time member of the Flagler, Palm Coast Kiwanis dating back to Dec. 1987. Al was the club’s16th President in 1992/93. He served on the board and numerous committees for years, and has been the membership chair for a number of years.


4 Centennial Awards. Been presented to Past Lt. Gov. Bill Klinkenberg, Dr. Richard Conkling, Frank Consentino and Jim with Frank been presented to President Dr. Maria Barbosa with Centennial Award.


Dr. Maria Barbosa been Awarded with a Centennial Awards and Awarded with Medallion to be the President who made the difference in  Kiwanis International District 7.. Was an honor to receive this high rank acknowledgement by Lt. Governor Jim Rademacher Kiwanis International Division 7.  Dr. Maria Barbosa joined Kiwanis in 2011, and quickly rose to the club Presidency. She has a PhD in Clinical Christian Counseling, is the Founder and CEO of DIVAS International. Besides being a wife, mother, grandmother, and a local business woman, Maria is a published author, having written several books. When Maria takes on a project, she does so with boundless energy and a warm heart. She is the FPC High school Key Club adviser and she is currently writing a book on the history of the Flagler, Palm Coast Kiwanis club. She has done an exemplary job as club President, and has been elected to be the 2016/2017 Div. 7 Lt. Governor.


Bill Klinkenberg is proud to be a United States Marine, and belongs to the Marine Corps League Detachment #876 of Flagler County. He is also a retired New York City Police Sergeant. Bill is the only remaining founding father of the Flagler, Palm Coast Kiwanis club, dating back to March of 1977. Bill has held every chair in the club except treasurer, and he was a distinguished secretary. Bill was the clubs 8th President in 1984/85 and the 35th President in 2010/11. He was the Lt. Governor when we were still part of Division 5, and he was the Florida Foundation Trustee for Div.7 from 2011 to 2013.

Dr. Richard Conkling is a United States Army Veteran. He is a retired Flagler County school principal and was heavily involved in setting up the media center when the Belle Terre Elementary school was built. Dr. C. is one of the club’s longest standing members dating back to Dec. 1977. He was the club’s 3rd President in 1979/80. He served on the board and numerous committees for years, and has been our Foundation Treasurer for many years. Bill Klinkenberg tells us that one of Dick’s favorite things was to prepare the corn for the KI-WAN-I-QUE’s that the club used to hold. Mrs. Polly is pinning Dr. Conkling her husband with a Centennial pin.  

Frank Consentino is a United States Navy Veteran. He is a retired businessman, having run three successful businesses for more than forty years. He is a published author, and is currently writing a book about his glass collection.Frank joined Kiwanis in 2003 and transferred to the Flagler, Palm Coast Kiwanis from Haverhill Massachusetts in 2006.He was the club’s 33rd President in 2008/09 and was named Lt. Gov. of the year in 2011/2012.Frank has served on the board and numerous committees for years and has been the Compound liaison officer for a number of years. Frank is in his second term as the Florida Kiwanis Foundation Trustee for Div. 7, and is one of the Division 7 Certified CLE Trainers.  


The Flagler, Palm Coast Club’s commitment to the “Eliminate” Project is truly an accomplishment in which every member should take great pride. Once again, as with the late Kiwanis International IDD Project, our club has made history on a world wide scale. Just last night we received an e-mail from Kiwanis International informing us that Cambodia is now completely free of Maternal Neo-Natal tetanus. Well Done, Flagler, Palm Coast Kiwanis!