Volume 2 November 2020
News & Updates
In this edition, you will find for your reading pleasure the following topics:
  1. A word from our Board Chair, Cori (Corinthia) Harper
  2. November Proclamation News
  3. i2i Conference Information
  4. Youth M.O.V.E. article
  5. Healthy Transition Initiative
  6. Resource Sharing
  7. REMEMBER $25 up for grabs by submitting a name for our newsletter. Will your submission win?

Corinthia L. Harper, Board Chair,
North Carolina Families United

As the chair of the North Carolina Families United (NCFU) board, I am formally announcing with much enthusiasm the hiring of NCFU’s Interim Executive Director, Janeen B. Gingrich, MSW. As some of you know, our long-time Executive Director, Gail Cormier, resigned in August to pursue another position at a national organization. We are thrilled for the opportunity to welcome Janeen to our NCFU family!

The NCFU Board of Directors eagerly sought a candidate who had the necessary experience in nonprofit leadership and could do a comprehensive assessment of the organization and its areas of achievement, strength, and opportunities for growth to make a smooth transition possible for our next long-term leader.

Janeen has 25+ years of nonprofit experience including 10+ as a full-time nonprofit consultant and she is an expert in organizational transitions. She is also a deeply genuine person with the heart of an advocate and with roots in community mental health work, domestic and sexual violence work, and lived behavioral health experiences both as a parent and in her own life. Since coming on at the end of August, she has done intentional work on building relationships with NCFU staff, its funders, its sibling organizations, our Board of Directors, and has worked hard to develop new and existing partnerships across the state.

Janeen came highly recommended from folks in the nonprofit community in NC, and in her short tenure thus far, has motivated the staff and Board towards the wonderful things yet to come for NCFU and the children, youth, and families we serve.

As Board Chair, it is my pleasure to introduce to some and present to others, Janeen Gingrich, Interim Executive Director of North Carolina Families United. She will be with us in this role until we find our next permanent leader and is entirely committed to supporting the staff and the statewide community through this process.

Janeen is very much available for coffee zoom chats, one-on-ones, and truly welcomes all conversations. Please reach out to her anytime at jgingrich@ncfamiliesunited.org. We will be putting out our official Executive Director search announcement in November and are currently recruiting engaged and experienced board members. Please lookout for more information to come on that as we move forward.
Let's extend a warm welcome to ....

Janeen Gingrich, Interim Executive Director
North Carolina Families United

Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed November as the officially Family Engagement Month.

  • Family Engagement is successful to build good strong family relationships.
  • Helps create children development
  • Provides an overall healthy outcome for families and children to strive.
The i2i Center conference is taking place on December 2nd -4th this year. This conference will be packed with sessions. After the conference there will be a limited time to access a recording for each session and will include the award ceremony and Santa's virtual visit.
Scholarship available upon first come first serve basis.

Written and Submitted by:
Kyle Reece
Youth M.O.V.E. Coordinator
NC Families United

Over the past few months, Youth in North Carolina have adapted quite well. Despite the pandemic and the uncertainty that it brings, Youth has shown resiliency in ways that we can all aspire to. They have been forced to change the way they learn in school. They have been forced to isolate themselves from their friends. And most of all, they have shown us that in the face of adversity and chaos, they continue to strive to have a voice and advocate for youth rights. Of course, despite the pandemic, Youth in North Carolina have continued to participate in Youth Move North Carolina, and have provided support for fellow youth across North Carolina.

For Example, take Youth MOVE’s Local Chapter in Lincolnton, North Carolina. In the past 5 months, not only have they started their chapter, but they have met with local organizations and the Local Collaborative and have been a continued voice for Youth Advocacy in that area. They even created a successful online support group for youth and families, and share helpful resources regularly.

Take, for example, Youth in Charlotte. They too have started their chapter, have advocated for youth, and have created a ZOOM youth support group that meets twice a month. There, Local youth can come together and provide peer support during these uncertain times.

Our Youth MOVE Statewide chapter has also been very successful in the past few months. After hosting our Annual Youth Leadership Series in June, which this year we were forced to host it virtually, we had over 45 participants between the ages of 14-25 join and participate. We also grew our statewide chapter, and continue to meet virtually every month. In November, we will be offering a Suicide Prevention training, hosted by the Mental Health of America.

As we continue to grow locally and statewide, our Youth have shown us that despite the pandemic, we must continue to fight for youth and families, and advocate for their health and well-being. Despite being forced to change the way they learn and interact with their peers, they have shown resiliency in ways that are so inspiring. They have taken on initiatives because they recognize that their peers need help, and youth deserve to have a voice in the care they receive. They have shown true leadership, something many of us are searching for in our own lives and our communities. One of the best ways to support ourselves in these uncertain times is to look to and support our youth because, despite everything, they have shown us that we can adapt, and learn, and grow together, if only we come together as a community.

Children truly are our future, and if you are ever looking for hope in these unsettling times, turn to and support our youth and know that they will continue to fight for what is right, and are showing that through leadership and peer support, we can get through any challenge.
Written and Submitted by: Rachael Landau, Youth and Young Adult Coordinator,Healthy Transitions Initiative and Whitney Rosenblatt, Youth and Young Adult Peer Support Specialist
Healthy Transitions Initiative
The Healthy Transitions Initiative is a SAMHSA-funded program that is geared toward supporting
Transition Age Youth (TAY) ages 16-25 who have historically “fallen through the cracks.” Many agencies
are not equipped with the tools needed to serve this unique population or meet the diverse needs of
Youth and Young Adults. In many instances, TAY experience a disconnect between the child and adult-
serving systems, making it incredibly difficult to bridge that gap and navigate those systems as
circumstances change, whether that’s turning 18, aging out of the foster care system, moving out of
their homes for the first time, or various other situations. Because most individuals experience the first
of many major transitions in their lives between the ages of 16-25, it is important to have a support
network that understands the specific needs of this group, particularly if they are also juggling mental,
behavioral, or emotional health challenges. The overall objective of this project is to utilize an
innovative, non-clinical approach to serving TAY through community and strength-based approaches.
The team also strives to equip TAY with the tools and information they need to assist with their
transition to adulthood.

The North Carolina Healthy Transitions initiative is currently being piloted in two laboratory counties in
Western North Carolina: Henderson and Buncombe. The initiative has partnered with two local
agencies, Youth Villages and Family Preservations Services, to create a System of Care program for Youth and Young Adults that helps bridge the gaps between the child and adult serving systems. To meet the needs of TAY, Healthy Transitions staff will be trained in the Transition to Independence Process (TIP)
Model, a non-clinical, Evidence-Supported Practice that prepares young people for the transition into
adulthood. Both sites will build a program-specific team that consists of a Site Administrator, a Clinical
Assessor, a Transition Facilitator, a Peer Support Specialist, and an Educational/Vocational Specialist.
Because one of the major goals of Healthy Transitions is to increase the voice and choice of TAY in the
services they receive, participants will be able to choose which components of the program they want to
engage in. A participant can enroll in the services that they feel would help their transition into
adulthood while opting out of activities that do not serve them.

Another major focus of the North Carolina Healthy Transitions Initiative is to increase awareness and
accessible community-based services for TAY throughout the two selected counties. Healthy Transitions
state and local teams will partner with key stakeholders to create non-stigmatizing, trauma-informed
opportunities in the community in order to develop regional expertise for those working with TAY.
Healthy Transitions also emphasizes the utilization of youth and family voices to inform program
development and policies affecting Youth and Young Adults by collaborating with businesses, faith-
based organizations, and other local programs to enhance the capacity of agencies to provide relevant
and effective services for this unique, and oftentimes underserved, population. Stay tuned for additional
updates in future newsletters as Healthy Transitions develops new and innovative opportunities for
Youth and Young Adults!
Resources Shared from Pinnacle:
How a Gratitude Journal Can Make Your Child Happier 
(https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/gratitude-journal-for-kids.html), Jodie Rodriguez writes that "It's a healthy habit--and also encourages writing skills." 

Rodriguez suggests three tips for starting a gratitude journal with kids.
1. Share Inspiring Read-Alouds 
2. Help Them Select a Journal
3. Suggest writing prompts

How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain, Brown and Wong (Mind and Body, June 2017:  https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain ) writes that “new research is starting to explore how gratitude works to improve our mental health.” 

Here are four insights from their research suggesting what might be behind gratitude’s psychological benefits:
1. Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions
2. Gratitude help even if you don’t share it
3. Gratitude’s benefits take time
4. Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain

The Science of Gratitude (2 minute video):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMd1CcGZYwU
Four Myths about being Grateful at Work (17 minute video):  https://youtu.be/yPS4XnVZ38g

Additional resources shared by Family Partners/Members during Workforce Development Meeting:
Recommendations for elementary students experiencing stress.
1.     The Ari Center
2.     Yoga-it helps to regulate emotions
3.     Center for Child and Family Health
4.     Early Childcare Communities - Childcare Services Inc
5.     ECAC
6.     Dance
7.     Building Literacy Skills through Dramatic Play (Short Video): https://www.edutopia.org/video/building-literacy-skills-dramatic-play
8.     Take 5: Group Performance (Short Video): https://youtu.be/9w8oK-r9Gic
9.  Understanding and building resilience with art: A socio-ecological approach: https://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2403&context=theses
11.  Youth Resilience Through Art During COVID-19 Crisis: Arts for Resilience Practice Guide: Samaa’s Story: https://en.unesco.org/news/youth-resilience-through-art-during-covid-19-crisis-youthofunesco-story-samaa
12.  Artistry Youth Dance: Resilience (Short Video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LPiXMnq5YM
Be on the lookout for future newsletters on:
  1. Center of Excellence updates/happenings
  2. Family Partner Coordinators/Family Partners/Family Advocates highlights
  3. Board of Directors, Assoc. Director, Executive Director news
  4. Data collection
We encourage feedback on news shared as well as ideas on pertinent topics you want to see in our newsletters. We will always try to share a resource relating to children, youth, and families mental health.
Stay Connected to NC Families United
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