Last month, we focused on improving our cross-department communication at KYJO. While we’ve always worked together (the KYJO team has always been a TEAM), ongoing changes and adjustments (mostly in response to state regulations) have spurred us to reorganize things a bit and make sure we’re facilitating communication across our entire team.
Particularly, our Mental Health Department and Residential Youth Home Department have been working together FANTASTICALLY recently (and a shout-out to y’all!) – which has really made a difference for our youth. This enhanced communication has allowed us to serve more youth and families than ever before, and we’re slowly transitioning to provide Trauma Informed Care programs for the youth we work with.
Our journey toward enhanced communication and facilitation is nowhere near done, but I’m proud of the strides we’ve made recently. The strong cross-department relationships that we’re building will benefit our youth now and over the long-term, and I’m excited to see what a KYJO team that’s firing on all cylinders can do!
Kuppa Joy Coffee House
This month, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge Kuppa Joy Coffee House and its owner, Zack Follett. Freshly retired from professional football, Zack found himself at Costa Coffee in Great Marlow, UK while on a mission to share the good news. Zack is a man of a faith, and while sitting in that coffee shop, he felt the spirit of the Lord lead him to open an establishment where people could connect over conversation – and take a sip from “the cup of joy”.
The first Kuppa Joy café opened in 2012, and a number of additional locations have opened throughout the Central Valley since then. Zack and his team have succeeded in creating warm, welcoming spaces which allow their community to gather and connect with one another. KYJO is blessed to have partnered with Kuppa Joy this month for our KYJO Open Mic Night – which will take place Friday, October 11 at the Kuppa Joy Clovis location. You can learn more about the FREE event (proceeds from which will support KYJO programs) by visiting our Facebook event page here.
KYJO Rock Star Award
This Month’s Rock Stars: Fatimah Rodriguez and Kwamise Fletcher
This month’s Rock Star Awards go to the KYJO team members who are all about compliance! Our new Compliance Officer, Fatimah Rodriguez, and Training Coordinator, Kwamise Fletcher, came aboard to help streamline our staff training processes and ensure we comply with CARF standards and state regulations. They’ve done a fantastic job so far, producing thorough compliance reports for our board and developing new training systems for our staff.
Whenever there are new policies to put into practice or standards to learn, Fatimah and Kwamise are ahead of the game, working to translate everything into language or tasks that our staff can understand. They’re hard at work improving our systems and setting us up for next-level success, which is why they’re this month’s Rock Stars!
Residential Youth Homes - Highlights
This month, all our residential youth houses came together on two occasions. The first was a Vision Board Party we held at our corporate office. Each resident who attended the Party had the opportunity to win prizes for the vision board that they created. The purpose of this event was to encourage our residents to set and pursue short- and long-term goals for their lives, including goals for their education, health, finances, and self-care.
All our homes also recently gathered for a Sunday afternoon hike, which is something many of our residents have never had the opportunity to do (before now). The trail we hiked ended at a beautiful waterfall, which many of our residents decided to swim around in. We also ate a picnic lunch together and had a great conversation!
– Katie Counts, Mental Health Case Manager
Foster Family Agency - Highlights
Fabian Sanchez and Felicia Carassco have been foster parents with KYJO since 2017. In that time, they have opened their home and hearts to numerous children. Last year, they finalized an adoption for two young girls, giving them a forever home filled with love and care.
After taking a break to focus on family, the Sanchez family graciously made themselves available to take an emergency respite placement. The three girls acclimated so well to the Sanchezes’ home that Felicia and Fabian extended their stay, making it the girls’ permanent placement until they reunified with their mother. With their current placement of three foster daughters, the Sanchez family is experiencing the joys of taking care of six children in their home.
Felicia goes above and beyond her required duties as a foster mom. In addition to taking all six of her children to school, appointments, family visits and extracurricular activities, she takes the time to communicate with her foster children’s biological parents – keeping them in the loop with what is occurring with their children daily and offering them additional time with their children. Fabian and Felicia’s experience as seasoned foster parents has also positioned them as mentors for our other foster parents. The Sanchezes regularly answer late night phone calls and make house visits to help manage behavioral issues. Felicia has even volunteered her time to start up a KYJO Resource Parent Support group. In October, she’s going to begin facilitating monthly meetings and an online Facebook group.
KYJO FFA staff is so thankful to have Fabian and Felicia as part of our agency, and we are looking forward to many more years of working with them!
– Veronica Welch, FFA Social Worker
Mental Health Care - Highlights
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
This month, the KYJO Mental Health team wanted to quickly remind you of some key ways you can improve your mental health, including:
- Staying positive.
- Being physically active.
- Connecting with others.
- Developing a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Developing coping skills.
- Helping others.
- Learning to better deal with adversity.
- Getting professional help if you need it.
As always, if you feel like you need to reach out to someone, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to talk about your mental health!
Life Doesn’t Happen TO You, It Happens FOR You
In this life, there is so much adversity we all must face. But there are also things we can control, and these are some of my favorite methods for TAKING ACTION to overcome adversity and stay positive:
- Surround yourself with positive people: Be selective with the people you surround yourself with. Indirectly, these people affect your mood and outlook. When you are in an emotional state of mind, it’s important to surround yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging. Human beings conform to those around them. When experiencing adversity, it’s crucial to surround yourself with people who are accepting of your flaws, mistakes, and imperfections. Overcoming adversity can be a challenge. When you have a supportive team helping you move forward, it’s much easier to accept yourself.
- Write: There is something so peaceful in writing down your thoughts, which is why I recommend that EVERYONE keep a daily journal. However short or long your journal entries are, the process of writing down your emotions allows you to reflect and keep track of your personal journey.
- Be in nature: With adversity comes stress and frustration. Taking time to just exist outside is a way for you to nurture your being and take a deep breath, relax, and let go of some of that stress and frustration. The sun and the fresh air give you a sense of calmness in the face of adversity. Spend at least 10 to 20 minutes outside each day, you’ll find your stress level decreasing – I promise.
- Invest in yourself: There is no greater investment than investing in your own personal and professional development. Experiencing adversity is a great excuse for people not to take charge of their lives. Many of us allow challenges to defeat us. Instead, we need to focus on developing into stronger and wiser individuals, who can overcome the obstacles facing us. To start, I suggest reading or listening to the audio versions of personal growth books. But whatever you do, just remember to keep growing and moving forward.
Adversity is a blessing in disguise. You may not think so in the moment, but eventually, the challenges you face will make you stronger and wiser. So confront them, withstand them, and overcome them – because you got this!