AMAAD On The Move
A Message from our CEO:

A State of Resilience 

Greetings AMAAD Friends & Family,

As we prepare to close out the year 2020, I’m taking a moment to reflect on what I believed was the state of AMAAD when we started the year. Like so many of us, I was not factoring the looming COVID-19 pandemic. As we were truly in the mist of dramatically expanding our health and human services footprint, which included several new staff members and program facilities, I did not imagine the degree to which we would need to shift our carefully thought-out plan for 2020 operations. Needless to say, the year did not unfold as initially planned and truthfully, the necessary operational adjustments we had to make “knocked us off our stride.” We had to suddenly embark upon a “new normal” that would keep clients and staff safety priority. Social distancing guidelines pushed us to deploy remote work and telehealth-related technological strategies. This posed a separate complication, in that, so much of the AMAAD experience is through human contact, individual and community, and engagement is especially important to what we do. 

Now, as I put into perspective just how rough the year has been, I’m pleased that my end of year report is that the primary state of AMAAD is the same as it was at the start of the year. In the face of COVID-19 adversities that are literally of epidemic proportions, AMAAD has remained in a resilient state. AMAAD is also excited to recognize Kwanzaa as an organizational holiday. During this time, our team will commemorate and celebrate culture and tradition.

While we close out the year dramatically differently than we envisioned at the start, it pleases me to know the degree to which we have been persistent and resolute, pushing on for the benefit of our community. Yes, the continuing epidemic has created unimagined challenges that we are still navigating, but AMAAD was birth from within a community that is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. 

This is who we are – resilient.

In Love and Happy Holidays,

Carl Highshaw, MSW - CEO and Founder
_____Resilient Solutions_____
The Resilient Solutions Project is a program designed to help African American, Black, and LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly formerly incarcerated individuals, and those experiencing mental health and substance use support needs. Our goal is to help decrease homelessness, increase the capacity of local peer-based community infrastructure, and provide behavioral health, substance use treatment and support to our communities.

Services provided include long-term case management, intensive wraparound behavioral health support, early intervention counseling, substance abuse counseling, access to jobs and employment, assistance with securing and maintaining permanent supportive housing, and culturally appropriate services.

For more information about Resilient Solutions or to connect, visit!
_____Meet the Team_____
Celeste Phillips
Recovery Specialist

"I am Celeste Phillips, Certified Recovery Specialist for the AMAAD Institute and bring experience with such evidence-based practices as relapse prevention, anger management, process, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), and motivational interviewing to the Resilient Solutions Project. 

I entered this field to help those experiencing concerns from substance use disorder, which captures my heart, because of my own experiences, spending half of my life battling addiction. Now, I can now give back, and I am here to help."

Connect with Celeste at!
Crystal Bender, AMFT
Behavioral Health Therapist

"I am extremely excited to serve as the Behavioral Health Therapist for the Resilient Solutions Project, because I recognize that formerly incarcerated individuals who live in underserved communities with high needs often have and face daunting and discouraging barriers.

My passion to do this work was activated by that recognizing of the lack of resources, support, and education in our communities. My goal is to provide a high level of mental health care to those in need who are often overlooked. Everyone deserves a chance at life, happiness, to be their best self. And with adequate support and their own will, all of that and more is possible."

Connect with Crystal at!
Project R.O.A.R.
(Restoration , Outreach, Advocacy, and Resilience)
Project R.O.A.R is a youth and young adult diversion program designed to destigmatize mental health, develop leadership, and foster opportunities for individuals ages 13-24. R.O.A.R is intentionally inclusive and culturally relevant African American / Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ individuals with a focus on those system-involved and/or experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
_____ Meet the Team _____
David Argueta, AMFT
Behavioral Health Therapist

"I am the Behavioral Health Therapist for R.O.A.R. My passion is working with underserved communities and help individuals find healing. I have excellent clinical experience working with youth and adolescents. I provide support, guidance, and a safe place free of judgment. My therapy style is empowering, compassionate, creative, and fun. I provide a tailored treatment to fit personal needs. I'm excited to help build and grow Project R.O.A.R.!"

Connect with David at 
Jerran "JD" Hinnant
Recruitment and Referral Coordinator

"Ass Recruitment and Referral Coordinator for Project R.O.A.R. I bring a sincere focus and passion for educating, motivating, and counseling our greatest young leaders of tomorrow. I look forward to bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience in project management, organizational leadership, and development."  

In his role, Jerran leads recruitment and engagement with Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ youth and young adults, liaises with officials and partners, and works to provide peer counseling and support services centered around youth diversion and engagement.

Connect with JD at
_____ Housing _____
The Antidote for Homelessness:
An Intersectional Community-Partnered Approach

By Ted Booker, Manager of Housing Services

Homelessness and houselessness in minority communities are not new issues. For decades, a barrage of unresolved barriers has exacerbated the problem. In Los Angeles, homelessness has been on the rise despite millions of dollars aimed to solve these challenges. As an outcome-based strategic planner, I would pose a question from a community lens and ask, “What underlying issue is not being addressed?” I would also ask, “Who is at the table and who is not?”

In my opinion, the need for more inclusion and the sharing of power and resources sit at the base. On too many occasions, I personally have participated in focus groups, discussion panels, conferences and the like only to find the “same usual suspects” professing to know how to solve a problem, but rarely do I see people that look like me in positions of power leading or participating in the process.
As a marginalized and exploited group, Black people have never had the needed resources to fully pull themselves up by their “bootstraps,” that is, to elevate without any outside help; however, Black people continue to overcome obstacles. This has been Black people’s story since American slavery. So often Black people’s insight is not valued and at the same time, in many cases, Black people have the answer to the problem.

With that, my experience has shown that whoever leads the charge can grossly affect outcomes. Because of that, having individuals and agencies with uncompromising integrity and transparency in leadership is key. No one entity can solve the issues of homelessness and/or houselessness. In social services, while providers are able to deliver services with specific funder requirements, clients often have needs beyond what the funding source can provide. Knowing that, there must be a collective of community experts, churches, mental health agencies, substance abuse agencies, government and a host of other community-serving agencies along with individuals with lived experience banning together at the intersection of needs and barriers with an agreed-upon outcome of restoring pride, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency.

AMAAD implements a cutting-edge strategy of self-empowerment principles to equip program participants to enlighten their process, resolve prevailing community issues, and bring focus to the work. These principles apply to the agency itself as well as the anticipated needs of populations served. As at AMAAD, projects and programs developed should be trauma-informed, client-centered, and culturally empathetic with intensive case management; all of which are validated by the rigors of science.
In conclusion, I reiterate that inclusion and the sharing of power and resources sits at the core of resolving the seemingly insurmountable issue of homelessness. By positioning skilled and apt agencies like AMAAD in growing roles of decision-making and resource management, communities most in need and most impacted will see and continue to see major, positive change.

For more information on AMAAD's housing services or to connect with Ted, email
Thank you, BlackRock, from the AMAAD Institute !
The AMAAD Institute would like to thank BlackRock for their sizable charitable contribution! Because of support from partners and friends like BlackRock, AMAAD is able to continue to bring programs, services, and activities to our communities with direct impact. AMAAD looks forward to further partnership and collaboration with BlackRock.

Thank you!
AMAAD 2020 Highlights
January- Vision Board Party/ Candlelight for Troy Bouvier Isaac 🕯

February- Launch of AmeriCorps California Justice Leaders partnership project ⚖️


April-Start of Online Programming 💻

May-#JusticeforAHMAUD / Mental Health Awareness Month🚑

June-#BLM #TLM #AllBlackLivesMatter Protest March ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽

July-Launch of "In Search of Me"👌🏾

August- Ribbon Cutting for Project imPACT Mike Gipson House 🏡

September-National Recovery Month/Launch of "Resilient Solutions" 🙌🏾

October- Health Awareness Month 🌽

November- Start of Project R.O.A.R. 🦁

December- ''In Search of Me" Holiday Drive and Drop 🚗🎁
BLACtastic Survey Spree is HAPPENING NOW!

The first year of the Black LGBTQ+ Action Coalition (BLAC) is coming to a close! Hosted by Nina Barkers and Gerald Garth, the focus of 2020 has been on the mental health needs of the Black and Black LGBTQ+ communities. Starting December 21, everyone who completes the BLAC Community Mental Health Survey will be entered into a daily drawing for $25.00!

Your feedback is important! Survey link can be found at

Daily winners will be announced Dec 23rd, Dec 30th, Jan 8th, and Jan 15th.

Join BLAC this Saturday, December 19 at 11:00am - 1:00pm PT at

Tell your friends, spread the word, and come join in!

Find all details and even about the referral bonus at

Christopher Webb- Communications Coordinator

Gerald Garth - Editor

Carl Highshaw - Publisher
[The AMAAD Institute]
[10221 S. Compton Ave., Suite 105, Los Angeles, CA 90002]