November 2018
Introducing Lakeisha! 
Please Join Us in Welcoming Our New Office Manager

PPAL is proud to announce Lakeisha has taken on the role of office manager.  Previously, she has worked as an office administrator in both the medical and the behavioral health field. Lakeisha brings her organizational, analytical, and extensive experience to her new role. She loves to read and is constantly on the look out to learn new things.

Lakeisha is excited to join PPAL and is dedicated to PPAL's mission. Welcome to the team, Lakeisha! We're happy to have you!

Juvenile Justice Team Continues to Make Strides Throughout Massachusetts
Juvenile Justice Provides Support to Youth in a Variety of Ways

The Boston metro region continues to support youth under the Community Options Release Engagement (CORE) process as they prepare to reenter their community. In the central region, our pilot program is doing well.  Families who have been referred to the diversion program continue to engage with our family navigator, as well as access services to prevent them from entering the court system at a deeper level. 

In the Hampden region, Aid Bednaz's expertise has been welcomed at Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives (JDAI) meetings. Aida has been able to support our Spanish-speaking families, provide first-hand resources, information, and system navigation, as well as connect them to a network of parents by facilitating bilingual support groups in the region. Keep up the great work, Aida!

The southeast region detention centers have begun to hold their holiday family events to nurture family engagement and give opportunities to families to meet each other and exchange experiences. The southeast region continues to collaborate with PPAL family support specialist Candice Gabrey by connecting as many families as possible to her support. Great work, Candice! 

Jonathan Mobley and Mateo Anderson, in collaboration with Department of Youth Services (DYS) have been on the road visiting detention centers, holding focus groups, and increasing youth voice in order improve the juvenile justice system. Youth have truly welcomed and appreciated Jonathan's support.  Although they might feel hopeless at times, they have made a connection with Youth MOVE and are thankful for the opportunity to speak. We look forward to continued collaboration! Way to go, Jonathan and Mateo!


Happy holidays from the PPAL Juvenile Justice team!


YouthMOVE Calendar
Check Out Our December Events

Mental Health Gift Drive
Give a Smile Today!

Feel like giving a smile this holiday season? Christina Smart, our 2016 Youth Award Winner is hosting her 2nd holiday gift drive for children, youth, and young adults who are in hospitals for the holiday season. The project started after she was hospitalized during the holidays and all she got was the same pair of socks or the same coloring book as everyone else. "Everything was the same. It didn't feel special," she recalls. Now, she wants to help make the holidays special for kids in Massachusetts. She hopes the whole list gets bought, but she really just wants to see "smiles on everyone's face." 
"Everything counts!" she says. The donations are going to 5 hospitals in Massachusetts, and she is hoping to give gifts to over 200 kids and teens. The drive is going great, but she could use your help! There are still items available for under $10! 
When Christina isn't running a mental health gift drive, she loves being with her family during the holiday season and making gingerbread cookies with her grandparents. We're so happy Christina is such a strong advocate for kids, youth, and young adults with mental health needs and we hope you can participate in Christina's goal to give some smiles this holiday season!
Check out her list here!

Listen Now!
Lisa Lambert Discusses PPAL on The Right Mind Media Podcast

Check it out! PPAL's executive director, Lisa, was a guest on The Right Mind Media Podcast where she talked about access, stigma, advocacy, system challenges, and the importance of parent to parent support for families with children with mental health needs. 

Come Join Our Team!
Three Job Openings Are Now Available

PPAL has three new job openings based out of the Boston and Worcester offices. Please check them out at this link and apply by sending your cover letter and resume to We hope to hear from you! 

New Infographics!
Two New Graphics Highlight Information Collected by Families and Youth

PPAL regularly puts together information collected by families and youth like you! This month, we have two awesome new infographics to share. Check them out on our website.

Youth MOVE Massachusetts, in collaboration with PPAL and the Children's Mental Health Campaign, conducted a youth-led survey on how youth and young adults get their information on substance use and mental health. Below are the top findings from this survey. They are excited to bring this one-pager as a tool when they go to the state house this winter. Again, it's entirely youth-led! Great job youth and young adults at Youth MOVE Massachusetts! 

Why is your voice important? Because it becomes part of many voices that become powerful data shown to people who need to see it! Check out our new infographic on how we translate family voice into positive change! Collecting family and youth voices allows us to bring voices to the statehouse, important meetings, or state agencies. Families and youth have important things to say and we want everyone to hear them!

Join Us at the JDAI Conference
This Year's Conference Will Take Place in Westborough

The JDAI 11th Annual Statewide Conference is coming up on December 17th in Westborough, MA! This year's conference is titled "Listening To Hear...why the voices of youth and families matter in reforming juvenile justice" and the keynote speaker is Honorable Lori A. Dumas from the city of Philadelphia. RSVP today by clicking here


Blog Alert 

Did you miss our blogs?  Read the latest What Youth Are Saying blog titled " Question 3 from the Perspective of a Non-Binary Young Adult " about why question 3 on the ballot in November is important to our youth and young adults by one of outstandingly talented young adults, Rachel LaBrie here

You can now subscribe to the PPAL blog and never miss a post.  Look for the subscribe information on the blog page. 

New Trainings!

We have several new trainings coming up! Check them out!

Salud Mental y Plan de EducaciĆ³n Individual (IEP)
Jueves, Diciembre 6 2018
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Leominster, MA
Email to RSVP and for more information

PPAL North Central Family Network
Special Presentation by Mass Rehabilitation Commission
Thursday, December 6, 2018
5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Leominster, MA
Email to RSVP and for more information

Also, PPAL has a ton of support groups available! The holiday season can be tough so make sure you check out a support group near you today. We all need help once in a while and we're here to help you! To see our full list, click here!

Parent/Family Support Group Social
1st & 3rd Wednesday 5:30pm-7:30pm
PPAL, 40 Southbridge St. Suite 310, Worcester
Hispanic Family Support Group 
2nd & 4th  Thursday 10am-12pm
Centro, 11 Sycamore Street, Worcester

Parents of Transition Age Youth Support Group 
2nd & 4th Wednesday  5:30pm-7:30pm
Kiva/Zia Access Center
209 Shrewsbury Street, Worcester

North Central 

Parent/Family Support Group Social
2nd & 4th Thursday 5:30pm-7:00pm
Mt. Wachusett Community College 444 Green St. Room 251, Gardner

Parents of Transition Age Youth Support Group
1st Thursday 5:30pm-7:00pm
3rd Thursday 10:00am-11:30am
CHL-100 Erdman Way, Leominster
South Central

Parent/Family  Support Group Social
1st Wednesday 6-8pm
Trinity Church
17 Congress St, Milford

Email for more information about these or other support groups and email for more information about upcoming trainings or to inquire about a training in your area! Hope to see you there!

We loved hosting a training on Mental Health and the IEP in Spanish in East Boston in November. Great work Mireya and Meri! Big thanks to Consuelo and Elsa for helping to coordinate the event and support families. We are so thankful for our amazing parent leaders! 

The Fourth Support Group Summit!

RSVP ASAP to! Spots are limited and going fast! Hope to see you there!

December Monthly Meeting: 
Sibling Support with Emily Rubin

Thank you to everyone who came out to the November Statewide with Asperger/Autism Network (AANE). We had a great presentation and conversation on working with Asperger/Autism families with Brenda Dater, MSW, MPH and author of 'Parenting without Panic' and Nancy Parker, LICSW, Director of Children and Teen Services at AANE. Thanks to everyone who came out and participated! 

This month, we are happy to welcome our guest presenter Emily Rubin, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at UMass Medical School and Director of Sibling Support at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, who will lead a presentation on supporting siblings of children with mental health needs. 

We invite you to attend the next PPAL Monthly Meeting on December 11th at Plymouth Church in Framingham if you have lived experience (family members, family partners, family support specialists, parent/caregivers, young adult peers, or others in family support roles). 

Please pre-register by December 7th to be guaranteed a seat and lunch.  
Tuesday, December 11th,  10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Plymouth Church 87 Edgell Road Framingham, MA 01702
Contact PPAL Statewide at 508-767-9725 or to RSVP

Latest Poll Results

November Poll Results

November is National Adoption Month and this year's theme is about youth voices. How can communities better support youth/young adults in foster care?

Have young people speak about their experience.....50%

 Advocate for housing opportunities for transition age youth.....43.75%

Be educated about foster care policies.....6.25%

Connect to foster care alumni.....0%

Take our December Poll on our website:

While the holiday season is wonderful, it can also cause stress. What works best for you to de-stress?

Self care for yourself

Keeping to a routine

Spending time with family and friends

Being present in the moment

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and important articles!

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