NewsFeed @ Youth In Need | December 18, 2017
Home Sweet Home…for the Holidays
There’s no place like home for the holidays. For some of the youth we serve, “home” is unimaginable.
Under a highway overpass. In an alley. Or on a friend’s basement couch. It’s exposed, unsafe and lonely.
But in our Emergency Shelter and Transitional Living Program group home, “home” suddenly becomes shelter, warmth and food. It’s safety, stability and hope.
Help us build home and hope for homeless youth this holiday season—and beyond. Your generosity makes all the difference. And your gift will go even further and help more children, youth and families this year! Two generous donors have agreed to match all donations, up to $30,000, received by Dec. 31.
From our home to yours, best wishes for a happy holiday season!
Pat’s Chat: Jim Braun’s MHA Silver Bell Award
Each year, Mental Health America (MHA) recognizes individuals who have had a major impact on expanding and promoting mental health. Their 2017 “Silver Bell” honoree is none other than Jim Braun, Youth In Need’s beloved former CEO, who led the agency from 1988-2013. Among many wonderful and deserving reasons for recognizing Jim with this prestigious award, MHA noted his “long-term leadership in advancing behavioral health services to children and youth” and cited his “strong ability to collaborate and create partnerships—for example, his development of the regional Youth Connection Helpline with Behavioral Health Response (BHR).” (Watch the video from the event here.)
As many of you know, Jim was diagnosed 28 months ago with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He’s been fighting it like a champ and has survived beyond medical expectations. His health has recently taken a turn for the worse, unfortunately, and he is transitioning to home hospice care. I had the profound privilege of accepting the Silver Bell award in Jim’s honor last Friday evening, and reading the speech he had prepared. I would like to share Jim’s deeply personal and meaningful words:
“Many of us who have dedicated our careers to mental health have had a personal experience that led to our career choice. In my case, my life’s path was affected when my father died unexpectedly when I was four. It was a family trauma that had a profound impact, and eventually contributed to my experiencing intense anxiety and depression as a young adult. I fortunately sought counseling and personally experienced the tremendous benefit of receiving quality behavioral health services. This experience no doubt impacted my deciding to become a clinical social worker. In my training and early career I gained knowledge and experience with major and chronic mental illnesses, addiction disorders, and how various types of trauma adversely impact child development and mental health. Both my personal and professional experience has all led to my life-long commitment to improving mental health access and services.
I spent 25 years of my career as the CEO of Youth In Need, where I had the privilege of leading the agency’s growth from an emergency shelter for runaway youth to a regional multi-service agency serving children, youth and families in all stages of their development. In addition to growing the size and scope of Youth In Need’s services, I am most proud of the fact that comprehensive mental health services were incorporated into each of the agency’s service programs throughout the region. I’ve also had an on-going commitment to working collaboratively with other organizations to build community-wide service systems and to break down service silos that can impede service access. I’m proud that since my retirement from Youth In Need in 2012, the agency’s community partnerships and collaborations have continued and grown. After retiring from Youth In Need, I’m proud of the continued impact I was able to have as a Partner with EMD Consulting helping community organizations develop quality services that either directly or indirectly improved mental health services in the region.
Mental Health America is this region’s leader in promoting mental health education, services, partnerships and advocacy throughout our metropolitan area and in Missouri. The fact that MHA has chosen to recognize my efforts to expand and promote mental health by awarding me with the 2017 Silver Bell Award is an immense and humbling honor. I accept this award in honor of my family, the organizations, mentors and colleagues throughout my career, and most importantly, the clients that have benefitted from receiving needed mental health services in organizations I’ve been involved with. Receiving this award means the world to me, and I cannot thank you enough.”
Thank you, Jim, for your leadership in our community and our organization, transforming systems and changing lives. Your impact will be felt for generations to come.
YIN Hosts Equity Indicators Session
Accountability and transparency regarding regional efforts toward racial equity remain at the forefront in our community. The City of St. Louis, through the Mayor’s Office and its participation in the international 100 Resilient Cities program, was selected one of five cities nationally to receive support to develop an Equity Indicator to measure progress toward equity. With the goal of using it as a catalyst to further work and conversations about measuring racial equity, the United Way of Greater St. Louis and Forward Through Ferguson held four engagement sessions, three in St. Louis City and one in St. Charles at Youth In Need last month. More than 40 people attended the session at Youth In Need.
Staff Shine at MCCA Conference
Youth In Need staff Jordan Eilerman, Residential Youth Care Worker, and Bridget Virdure, Foster Care and Adoption Case Manager, spoke during the opening session of the Missouri Coalition of Children’s Agencies (MCCA) conference in November. Jordan performed two spoken word poems, Static and Immeasurable, both of which she wrote based on her experiences at Youth In Need. Bridget shared her personal story of success. As a youth, Bridget used the Epworth Transitional Living Program (TLP), which allowed her to get through some tough times and focus on her college education and independence. Because Bridget has this perspective, she can understand where youth are coming from and be the support that they need, connecting with them, teaching them, advocating for them and supporting them.
LUME Institute Expands Training and Mentoring at YIN
LUME Institute is providing the professional development training in the LUME Approach for Head Start East staff. The LUME Approach is designed to help educators understand the emotional development of the children in their care, enabling them to respond and connect with children in a new and deeper way. Research shows that emotional development is the foundation for learning and future success. LUME’s goal is to help teachers understand the emotional development of children and how a child’s emotional development impacts his or her academic readiness and long-term outcomes. In addition, LUME is providing one Saturday cohort a month for teachers who’ve expressed interest in more intensive training and coaching. In between sessions, the LUME team spends time on site and provides targeted coaching with these staff as well.
YIN Selected as Diaper Bank Recipient
St. Louis Area Diaper Bank has selected Youth In Need’s Head Start and Early Head Start Home-Based program as one of its distribution partners. Children in the home-based program will receive 50 diapers per child per month, up to 250 diapers. Diapers are a basic need for any young child. They also are very expensive, costing families about $1,000 per year per child. There is virtually no public assistance provided to low-income families to help them provide this basic necessity. When diapers are in short supply, caregivers are forced to make difficult decisions about how to survive without the diapers they need. Children may be left in dirty diapers for extended periods of time, with some caregivers forced to resort to cleaning out dirty disposable diapers and using them again. The increased access to diapers for home-based families is a wonderful support service for parents and families.