Alejandra: A Wraparound Success Story

Alejandra: A Wraparound Success Story

When the Care Coordinator at Lookout Mountain Community Services met 13-year-old Alejandra,* she was depressed, rarely leaving her bedroom or getting out of her pajamas, and showing her mom photos of people she’d learned had taken their own lives. She’d almost completely stopped going to school, even though her ESOL teacher had asked her to sign an attendance contract. The Care Coordinator told Alejandra how building a wraparound team of support could help her, and discovered she loved animals. The Care Coordinator also encouraged her to go to counseling, where she revealed to the counselor that a couple of other students at school had threatened to hurt her. The wraparound team applauded Alejandra in sharing this, and helped get her started with equine therapy sessions. At equine therapy, she learned to build a relationship with a horse and use her voice to motivate it to go where she wanted to ride. After a couple of months, Alejandra agreed to meet with school officials to identify who had threatened her, and school counselors remarked how Alejandra had gotten stronger in communicating her needs. Now Alejandra is thriving again in school and wants to become a flight attendant. The wraparound team believes Alejandra had what it took to succeed, and just needed support to help her. If you know someone who could benefit from this kind of support, call Tommy for northern Georgia at 423-618-6767 or email to complete a referral for free wraparound services. For southern Georgia, call Anna at 478-283-7777 or email to complete a referral. You can also click on for more information.

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Cuando el Coordinador de atención de Lookout Mountain Community Services se reunió con Alejandra, de 13 años de edad, estaba deprimida, raramente salía de su dormitorio o salía de su pijama, y mostraba a sus madres fotos de personas que había aprendido que habían tomado sus propias vidas. Casi por completo dejó de ir a la escuela, a pesar de que su profesor de ESOL le había pedido que firmara un contrato de asistencia. La Coordinadora de cuidados le dijo a Alejandra que la construcción de un equipo de apoyo podría ayudarla, y descubrió que amaba a los animales. El Coordinador de cuidado también la animó a ir a consejería, donde ella reveló al consejero que un par de otros estudiantes en la escuela habían amenazado lastimarla. El equipo envuelto aplaudió a Alejandra al compartir esto, y ayudó a que comenzara con sesiones de terapia equina. En la terapia equina, aprendió a construir una relación con un caballo y a usar su voz para motivarla a ir adonde ella quería montar.

Después de un par de meses, Alejandra aceptó reunirse con los oficiales de la escuela para identificar quién la había amenazado, y los consejeros de la escuela comentaron cómo Alejandra se había fortalecido en la comunicación de sus necesidades. Ahora Alejandra está prosperando de nuevo en la escuela y quiere convertirse en una azafata. El equipo envolvente cree que Alejandra tuvo lo necesario para triunfar, y sólo necesitaba apoyo para ayudarla. Si conoce a alguien que pueda beneficiarse de este tipo de apoyo, llame a Faith a 423-582-8331 o envíe un correo electrónico a para completar una remisión para servicios de envolvente gratuitos.

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Youth Art & Poetry Contest for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

From: Sue Smith, Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network

Annual Art & Poetry Contest

Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

The Georgia Freight Depot
65 M.L.K. Jr Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30303

All elementary, middle and high school aged youth are encouraged to participate. It’s as Easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Enter one of two categories: Visual Art or Creative Writing
  2. Entries must illustrate the theme: Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma
  3. Submit entry form with art work or poem before April 20, 2018

Entry Form

Please contact Sheena Biggerstaff (404) 758-4500 ext. 107

DHS Youth Empowerment Series for High School Students – Deadline April 13

From: Deshane.Velasquez, Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS)

The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Youth Empowerment Series (YES) is accepting applicants for the 2018-19 school year, and we would love to have high school students from your community be a part of our program!

YES offers students an opportunity to participate in several workshops centered on youth development and engagement, such as goal setting, public speaking, resume building and community service activities. The core values underlying the program seek to provide youth with a blueprint to implement change in their community. Students in the program will provide their input and insight on current issues, build workforce skills and develop as leaders. Through career panels, networking and participation, students in the program will also gain exposure to policy and understand how DHS serves Georgians.


During the sessions, we will introduce the services offered by DHS. Students will hear from representatives that work in our divisions of Aging Services, Child Support Services and Family and Children Services. Then, students will be given a chance to provide their input and insight on these services. For more information, the program details can be found at


The application for participation can be found at The deadline to apply is April 13th.

Please note: Accepted students must commit to attending four Saturday sessions in their region of the state throughout the 2018-19 school year. Transportation is required.


For any questions, please feel free to contact or 404-463-0745.

Seize the Awkward

Talking about mental health can be really uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as asking a friend or someone you care about, “Hey, are you ok?”

To make it a little easier for us all to get through those awkward moments, the Ad Council, American Society for Suicide Prevention, and the JED Foundation teamed up to create an awesome new site, Seize the Awkward.

Seize the Awkward is full of tips for how to recognize if someone you love is going through a hard time and ways you can start the conversation. There are even personal stories from people like Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) and Liza Koshy (Freakish) about how friends helped them through difficult times and how talking through those awkward moments can make all the difference.

So go ahead, seize that awkward moment, you, and your friend, will be so glad you did.


Webinar: Navigating School and Work with a Serious Mental Health Condition

Announcement from Transitions RTC:

Navigating School and Work with a Serious Mental Health Condition:
It Can Be a Bumpy Ride

Thursday, September 14, 2017
12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT

Young adults with serious mental health conditions (SMHC) face delays in participating or are prevented from participating in settings where career development and exploration activities typically occur. Little is still known about how young adults navigate these activities while also managing a SMHC.

In this webinar, you'll hear about experiences of young adults with SMHC as they learn how to navigate life, including their success and challenges with educational and employment activities. 

The young people with SMHC featured in this webinar provide retrospectives of a) their education, training, and employment experiences, b) how those activities developed over time, and c) how contextual life circumstances (e.g., family history, experiences with SMHC) and pivotal life events (e.g., hospitalization) may have influenced these activities.

Join Transitions RTC's Kathryn Sabella, Laura Golden, and Emma Pici D'Ottavio for this insightful and informative webinar! 

Webinar: EmpowerMEnt “Sticks & Stone” Self Esteem Webinar

EmpowerMEnt & RYSE-ILP Present...

Sticks  & Stone: Self Esteem Webinar

July 18th, 2017 5:30pm- 6:30pm

Empowerment & RYSE-ILP (Resilient, Youth-Centered, Stable, and Empowered - Independent Living Program) are hosting a webinar to empower young people, especially ones who have experience with foster care, to see themselves in a positive light. In this webiniar, you will learn how to create positive thoughts so you can make sure you are not overlooking your Star Player (YOU!).


Webinar: Learning Community for Young Leaders, August 10

Calling all Youth Leaders

Direct Connect Learning Community Webinar, August 10, 3:30 – 5:00 pm ET

August’s Direct Connect National Learning Community will focus on the keys to successful youth organization development, including logic modeling, strategic planning, and capacity building. Presented by Dan Aune, be sure to register for this interactive discussion scheduled for August 10th from 3:30-5:00 pm Eastern.

Register now!

Media: The Be Vocal Documentary

At times, it can be difficult to talk about mental health, especially if you are someone living with or love a person with a mental illness.  We fear that accepting a diagnosis or speaking about mental illness will limit our options in life, we worry what others thing, and and we secretly fear that if we “give in,” to the belief that we have an illness, we give up.

The Be Vocal Documentary challenges us to look at mental illness differently. Through personal stories, we are asked to see and understand that opening up about mental health invites healing and creates opportunities. It encourages us to speak up about mental health so we can find freedom through the sharing of our stories.

Click here to watch the full documentary and stay to see how you can Be Vocal.

Webinar: Learning Community for Young Leaders, April 12

Calling all youth advocates!

Join the Learning Community (LC) for Young Leaders Direct Connect

Wednesday, April 12, 3:30 – 5 p.m. ET

Are you leading youth engagement efforts in a SOC / Healthy Transitions community or a Youth M.O.V.E. Chapter? Are you a youth or young adult who wants to develop professional skills while also connecting with peers who are using their lived experiences to make systems change?

Join the next national LC webinar for young leaders. Click here to register for April’s Learning Community Webinar.

Event: New Options Waiver Program (NOW) Public Forums

from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), Division of Developmental Disabilities

NOW Waiver Public Forums: COMP Families & Providers are Welcome to Attend

The New Options Waiver Program (NOW) which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is scheduled for renewal in September 2017 via application to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS). The Department of Community Health and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities seek comments from the public on how to enhance this program to meet the changing needs of families and individuals.

A series of five public forums will be held to collect comments and suggestions for the New Options Waiver Program (NOW) renewal application. We need input from families, self-advocates, providers, and the general public. COMP providers and families are welcome to attend.

Don’t miss this opportunity to make a positive difference in the direction of services for Georgians with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Meeting Objectives:

  • Participate in a focused discussion with other advocates and record your suggestions for improvements or additions to the NOW service array
  • Network with other stakeholders who share your experiences and concerns
  • Contribute to community efforts that will positively impact services provided in Georgia

Speakers to include:

Catherine Ivy, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Developmental Disabilities
Marcey Alter, Deputy Director Medicaid Services, Department of Community Health
Brian Dowd, Director of Waiver Programs, Department of Community Health


March 1 – 1:00 to 3:00pm at University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton
March 6 – 7:00 to 8:00pm (Virtual Forum)
March 8 – 1:00 to 3:00pm at Clarence Brown Conference Center, Cartersville
March 9 – 11:00am to Noon (Virtual Forum)
March 13 – 1:00 to 3:00pm at Gwinnett Tech/Busbee Center, Lawrenceville

Register by clicking the Eventbrite link below:

Venue address will listed on the registration ticket.
Details for the online virtual forums will be sent upon registration.