May is Mental Health Awareness Month and, as you can imagine, that means something special to us at KYJO. As an organization that works with kids from all walks of life, helping those kids achieve better mental health is a BIG DEAL to us, which is why we worked to become an accredited Mental Health Services provider. It’s also why we’ve recently begun including Mental Health Care updates in this very newsletter. We know that #breakingthestigma surrounding mental health and mental health care is a big deal, and that our community will benefit from any and all conversations we can start on the subject.
To show our support for other organizations fostering mental health awareness, our team (including staff, foster parents, residents, foster youth, friends, family, and more) came together to support the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) by participating in May 11’s NAMIWalk. You can check out a few pictures from the walk below, and learn more about NAMI and their own efforts to #breakthestigma by clicking here to go to the NAMI website.
The folks at Athletic Performance have been stalwart KYJO partners for years, and we’re proud to have them on our team! AP is the Central Valley’s top training facility for athletes invested in taking their performance to the next level, but professional training and coaching’s not all they do. Recently, the AP team has begun thinking about ways to help athletes achieve better mental health – a topic that’s also foremost on our minds at KYJO.
It’s great to have partners who are working to solve the same problems as we are, and we know we’ll have some productive discussions about bettering our community’s mental health with the Athletic Performance team in the near future.
KYJO Rock Star Award
This Month’s Rock Star: Veronica Welch
Veronica Welch joined our Foster Family Agency team in February of 2019. Although she has been with us only a few months, Veronica has made a huge impact on our KYJO Foster Family Agency team. Veronica wears many hats, including recruiting and training prospective resource families, coordinating appropriate placements of children in our resource family homes, and maintaining a case load of 11 children.
Veronica stepped up to fill the shoes of staff that were in transition. We are so thankful to have Veronica as a part of our foster family agency team.
Residential Youth Homes - Highlights
Recently, Kevin walked in to a local TOFAS and was greeted with a fantastic surprise! Former resident Shealeigh Keeney was on duty, and she chatted Kevin up about her current successes, including the time she spends mentoring other local youth.
Residents like Shealeigh prove that the KYJO program works, and that all the effort we put into reshaping our youth’s lives is worth it. We’re so proud of Shealeigh and all our other successful residents.
– Marilyn Cantu, Admissions Coordinator
Foster Family Agency - Highlights
This month, our Foster Family Agency is celebrating Foster Care Awareness Month. Our agency currently has 19 resource family homes, with 36 children placed in these homes. Our agency also currently has 8 staff members and 1 intern. These staff members and resource parents work closely with other members of the child welfare community to ensure that our kids are being provided with quality care.
Our agency would like to thank all of our staff and resource parents for their role in helping our kids feel safe and cared for, while they’re part of the KYJO family.
– Sienna Curtin, FFA Administrator
Mental Health Care - Highlights
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified that rates of depression for African-American males has increased within the last 20 years. The 2010 Census noted that rates of suicide amongst African-American males between the ages of 18-56 were 12% higher than Caucasian males. As rates of depression and suicidal ideation increase for African-American males, there is a need for identification, implementation, and application of culturally competent, relevant, and sensitive strategies and therapeutic practices to help this population combat depression, and the stigma associated with mental health disorders.
As the awareness of mental health disorders continues to pick up, we have to also work towards identifying populations where mental health services are not encouraged, or readily available due to ethnicities, gender, or cultural beliefs. We must take the time to work towards humanizing and decreasing stigmas related to mental health for all underrepresented populations, not only through awareness, but decreasing the myth that mental health discriminates based upon your ethnicity and gender.
-Oscar Perez, Case Manager
The Fruit Is Coming
“Consider this … the last thing to grow on a fruit tree, is FRUIT.”
There are so many times in life that we just have to WAIT. Whenever we pursue a goal, our first instinct is to grab for it as soon as possible. We become so impatient that we pick that apple we’ve been waiting for off the tree before it’s ready, and it tastes bitter as a result.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do is leave that apple alone. Because if we let it ripen, if we don’t rush and instead take a steady, measured approach toward achieving our dreams, the end result will taste so much sweeter. Because we’ve actually put the work in to make sure we’re ready for success.
That apple is yours, but don’t go picking it prematurely! Instead, trust your journey and your heart. They’ll tell you when it’s time to take action.