Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Make a Difference Day: Choose a Cause!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017



Recently, Eventbrite informed me of Make a Difference Day which is coming up on October 28th. On this day, individuals can volunteer to serve during "Make A Difference Day", one of the largest days of service nationwide. Since 1992, volunteers have united annually to improve the lives of others in their communities by serving nonprofit causes in the United States. "Make A Difference Day" is made possible by TEGNA with support from Arby’s Foundation and Points of Light. Since I am a huge proponent of peer helping, mental health prevention, conflict resolution, and violence prevention, I was thrilled to share these organizational causes with Eventbrite. They like to encourage their followers to get involved in organizations like these and offer multiple tools to make the fundraising process a little simpler!





My Favorite Causes 


Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation


For the last five years, I have made the six hour drive to the Gulf of Mexico to attend a wonderful conference about the benefits of peer helping sponsored by the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation.  I truly believe in the power of  peer helping and so does the founder of the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation, Frances Holk-Jones.  You see, Frances knows the potential of power of peers personally. After the suicide of her daughter, Jennifer, many of her daughter's friends informed her they were aware of Jennifer's state of mind, but were unsure of what to do with that information.  In the hopes of preventing other suicides in the community, Jennifer's family started a foundation to incorporate peer programs throughout all Baldwin County Schools in Southern Alabama.  I must say that I am amazed by the foundation's commitment, not only to their community, but to educate other professionals each year in their national conference. I truly support this organization and their work to spread the power of peer helping!!

Want to know about the National Peer Helping Conference?  Check out the link below to find out more!



National Council of Behavior Health and Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA)


Five years ago, my school district was awarded a grant called Project Aware . Part of the grant included selecting a handful of psychologists, social workers, and school counselors to become certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).  Fortunately, I was one of the staff members selected to take the certification course. Each year, I have had the privilege to teach up to four or five YMHFA courses per year to school, court, medical, religious, and corporate employees in the Metro Atlanta area.  The ability to train youth workers in Georgia has been very fulfilling and rewarding.  Our goal is to educate and train as many youth workers in Georgia as possible about youth mental illness. 
Georgia has still a way to go...sigh.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is "designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis" (Youth Mental Health First Aid).  Like CPR helps a person in a medical crisis, YMHFA training helps youth workers take action to get a youth in a mental crisis the help they need before the youth harms him/herself or others.



YMHFA is sponsored by the National Council for Behavioral Health which is the unifying voice of US health care organizations that deliver mental health services to over 10 million adults and children.  The National Council is a 501(c)(3) association that advocates for to comprehensive health care services for people who have mental health and substance use disorders. 

This caption sums the importance of YMHFA in the US!

National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP)


It was at the National Peer Helping Conference that I became aware of this organization.  The role of NAPPP is to help adults establish, train, supervise, maintain, and evaluate peer programs. Each year NAPPP coordinates peer helping training institutes across the world that teach adults to create, maintain, and evaluate a standard's based peer program in their organization.  In 2011, I became a certified peer educator with NAPPP and had the awesome opportunity to present at the 2014 ASCA
Conference on how to establish a standards based peer program.  Besides the opportunities for training and certification, the organization coordinates monthly webinars on important topics (bullying, suicide, and mental health to name a few), sends out a monthly newsletter that includes such goodies as student lessons, and provides consultation to those hoping to begin a program. Each year, NAPPP sponsors a National Peer Helping Week to promote and celebrate peer helping in schools.  A kit can be downloaded from the NAPPP site.

See this post regarding National Peer Helping Week.






Online Peer Mediation Platform (OPMP)


In 2014, I was asked by one of my mentors if I wanted to be a part of creating an online forum in the field of peer mediation. The project was part of a generous two year grant provided by the JAMS Foundation and was managed by the Association for Conflict Resolution.   This online platform would serve four purposes:

1.  Provide free resources for conflict resolution practitioners.
2.  Deliver basic conflict module training for students.
3.  Afford the opportunity for online peer mediation practice for students from existing peer mediation programs.
4.  Provide online peer mediation services for schools that lack a peer mediation program.


In 2016, the National Association for Peer Program Professionals was given the opportunity to manage the platform and extended available services. These additional services include: providing conflict resolution curricula, peer mediation training for schools, free monthly webinars, and free lessons in conflict resolution for students.

Check out the most recent free webinar from the Online Peer Mediation Platform called the State of Peer Mediation.  Also, register to participate in the October webinar hosted by Christa Tinari on "Bullying and Conflict: What is the Difference"? 




October 25th Free Webinar Registration


Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE)


In 2014, I discovered SAVE and their mission to prevent violence in schools.  Because I am a BIG proponent of prevention, I decided to start a chapter in my school.  What I appreciate most about SAVE is that they sponsor many youth violence prevention activities during the year, provide many free resources and share lots of great ideas to incorporate in your school.

SAVE EVENTS

October 16-24, 2017

"Say Something" teaches middle and high school students how to look for warning signs, signals and threats from a peer who might be planning to hurt themselves or someone else and to say something to a trusted adult to get help and possibly save a life.



March 19-23, 2018

National Youth Violence Awareness Week seeks to educate students, teachers, school administrators, counselors, school resource officers, school staff,  parents, and the public on effective ways to prevent or reduce violence among youth. The activities demonstrate the positive role peers can have in making their school a safer place.


NYVAW Events

Monday-Promoting Respect and Tolerance          
Tuesday-Manage Your Anger, Don’t Let it Manage You                  
Wednesday-Resolve Conflicts Peacefully                                          
Thursday-Support Safety
Friday-Unite in Action




Again, I am honored to have the opportunity to share the causes that I truly support in my profession! I hope you find this information useful and find these organizations of interest to you!