Diverse Promising Practices for Engaging Youth Before and During Times of Emotional Distress: Youth, Family, and School Perspectives
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- Letty Elenes, Community Trainings & Groups Manager at Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services (PEERS), Advanced Level Facilitator in the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), and the first WRAP facilitator to run youth-to-youth groups in the Nation
- Stephany Bryan, Program Officer and Consumer & Family Liaison for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and a gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Integrated Funding Initiative and the Texas Transformation Workgroup
- Wendell Waukau, M.A., Ed.S., the Superintendent for Menominee Indian School District located on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Northeast Wisconsin, who in 2012 was honored at the White House by President Obama as a "Champion of Change," or what the White House calls a "school turnaround leader"
How do we create safe and supportive communities that engage youth? How can parents build relationships with their children in which their children perceive their guidance as respectful and contributing to their intellectual and emotional growth? How can a school district build strong relationships with families and students that teach resiliency and culture while improving students’ health, well-being, and academic performance?
These questions and others will be explored as we hear diverse perspectives on creating communities where youth feel safe and accepted. Our presenters will share their successes in creating opportunities for youth to learn how to maintain their wellness; take good care of themselves; make good decisions; and feel connected to their family, peers, and larger community.
When young people don’t get their emotional needs met and don’t have guidance and support to learn and grow, problems can arise. If unaddressed, these problems can grow and increase in intensity until they reach crisis proportions. With incidents occurring in homes, schools, and universities across the country, families, young people, and professionals working with young people may want help with recognizing the needs of young people who may be experiencing trauma, neglect, or bullying, all of which can lead to social isolation, and with learning ways to address these issues.
During this webinar, the second of a two-part series focused on mental health promotion and early intervention, you will hear three speakers describe how young adults, families, schools, and the entire community can play a part and collaborate in improving the emotional health and well-being of young people in their communities. You’ll hear how young adults are learning how to support one another, developing skills to take care of and be responsible for their own wellness, and learning how to actively and effectively participate in discussions with policymakers about issues that affect them. You’ll learn about the importance of parents’ getting the support they need to address their own issues, for their own healing and so they can become better parents, and the skills parents need to acquire and practice to support their children in becoming happy and successful adults. And you’ll learn how one school district, whose superintendent was one of 12 educators in the Nation recognized by the White House in 2012 as a "Champion of Change," has adopted new practices that have led to tremendous gains in on-time graduation rates, substantial reductions in suspensions and expulsions, and other positive outcomes.
We invite you to join us in learning about innovative practices that are making a difference in the lives of children and their families and how you can bring these practices to your community.
- To provide participants with information about youth-led support groups and initiatives that are providing young adults with the skills to take care of their health and wellness and supporting them in learning to share their perspective on issues of importance to them. These efforts are important strategies for reducing social isolation and increasing a sense of purpose and engagement.
- To learn about family healing, the importance of compassionate listening when talking with your children, recognizing when your children are experiencing difficulty, and supporting them in developing personal responsibility and decision-making ability so they can grow into healthy, responsible adults.
- To learn how one school district is building strong relationships with families and students that acknowledge the impact of individual and historical trauma and teach resiliency and cultural pride and how these shifts are leading to significant increases in students’ health, well-being, and academic achievement.
- Youth and young adults, including those experiencing or in recovery from mental health, substance use, and trauma-related challenges
- Parents, other family members, and friends
- Parent-teacher associations and teachers, counselors, and administrators for grades K-12
- People in recovery from and those experiencing mental health, substance use, and trauma-related challenges
- Peers, consumers/survivors/ex-patients
- Gender queer and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and asexual organizations, allies, supporters, and advocates
- Community members
- Leaders of community- and faith-based organizations
- Mental health and substance use treatment service providers
- Healthcare providers
- Federal, State, and local staff, policymakers, and community leaders
Letty Elenes is a pioneer in the Alameda County consumer movement and received the prestigious 2010 Consumer of the Year Award for her dedication to advancing the voice of youth consumers. In 2012 she received the first Jay Mahler Leadership Award for her devoted passion in the consumer movement and amazing leadership skills. She is a founding member of the Pool of Consumer Champions-Transition Age Youth Committee and the Transition Age Youth Advisory Board. As a result of her innovative teamwork, Alameda County now has a wide-reaching, sustainable transition age youth initiative.
Today, Ms. Elenes is the youngest national Advanced Level Facilitator in the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) and the first WRAP facilitator to run youth-to-youth groups in the Nation. In 2011, she started working with Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D., WRAP Founder, to create a youth edition of the WRAP workbook and help with expanding WRAP to youth in Canada.
Ms. Elenes is an inspiring public speaker and has delivered keynote addresses at international conferences. She also facilitates local and international workshops and trainings. Ms. Elenes graduated from California State University, East Bay, earning a degree in psychology, and she is currently an M.S.W. graduate student. She works at Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services (PEERS), where she was recently promoted to Community Groups & Trainings Manager. During her 5 years at PEERS, she first served as the Transition Age Youth Coordinator for 3 years and then as the Transition Age Youth Manager for the last 2 years.
Stephany Bryan serves as Program Officer and Consumer & Family Liaison for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. She represents the perspectives of consumers of mental health services and their families in the Hogg Foundation’s strategic planning, grant making, programs, and policy activities. Ms. Bryan has spent 20 years advocating for improvements to Federal, State, and local mental health policies and services. She also has served as a leader, mentor, and adviser to consumers, family members, government agencies, policymakers, and advocacy groups in Texas and nationally. Additionally, she is a gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Integrated Funding Initiative and the Texas Transformation Workgroup, and she previously served as Chair of the Parent Collaboration Group with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Ms. Bryan also previously worked with the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health and the American Institutes for Research to advise communities and States across the country on implementing systems of care for children and youth with mental health needs and their families. She also was the first Parent Coordinator for The Children’s Partnership in Travis County, the first federally funded local program in Texas to implement systems of care. Ms. Bryan has a certificate in finance from the American Institute of Banking and completed courses in music at Texas State University.
Wendell Waukau, M.A., Ed.S., is currently the Superintendent for Menominee Indian School District (MISD). MISD is located on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Northeast Wisconsin and serves approximately 900 students in grades 4K (pre-K) through 12. Mr. Waukau is an enrolled member of the Menominee Indian Tribe in Wisconsin and considers it to be both a privilege and an honor to work for the community he grew up in. For 25 years Mr. Waukau has served MISD and his community as a teacher, coach, athletic director, dean of students, principal, and superintendent. Once labeled a “dropout factory” for graduating less than 60 percent of its students on time, MISD has successfully implemented various reforms and initiatives in the areas of community and family engagement, mentoring, early childhood, nutrition and wellness, and alternative schooling over the past 7 years, which have led to a present day graduation rate of 94 percent. In 2012 Mr. Waukau was honored at the White House by President Obama as a “Champion of Change,” or what the White House calls a “school turnaround leader.” This recognition gave MISD and their Native community the validation that they were making significant progress in building a culture of high expectations, improving instruction, creating safe learning environments, and fostering professional collaboration among schools and community. Mr. Waukau and his wife, Lori, have three children, who all attend MISD schools.