Assessment & Classification Specialist,
Department of Juvenile Justice
Mu Sigma Nu Mentoring and Advocacy Nonprofit
Today I am honored to feature Will Clark. He is tirelessly devoted to serving the youth in our community both in his daily role at the Department of Juvenile Justice and also through his non-profit, Mu Sigma Nu. At the DJJ, Will chairs a team of professionals to place children who have been adjudicated of juvenile offenses in appropriate programs. He invited me to observe this process last fall and I was able to see him in action. Many of the children had little or no support network and it was quite sad, however Will's compassion and the encouragement he gave each child was refreshing. His non profit, Mu Sigma Nu provides mentoring and advocacy services to at-risk male youth ages 13 to 19 in need of academic, pro-social and therapeutic support. Despite the sometimes emotionally draining work, Will exudes an energy and calling to serve others that would inspire anyone. I know you will enjoy this feature.
"I think the voice of our young often goes unheard. I try to make sure that I am always listening."
The story of Ethan Couch is a sensational one. Could a child really be so unaware of the consequences of his decisions because his parents gave him everything he wanted, never told him “no,” or set any boundaries for him? The judge in his case certainly thought so, and his defense of “affluenza,” has been the subject of much debate, discussion, and media attention.
Associate Professional Counselor
Peachtree Art Therapy and Counseling
Focus on Youth and Adolescents in Life Transitions
Happy Friday! Today, I would like you to meet Elana Clautice. She is an Associate Professional Counselor who works with youth and teens. From the moment I met Elana, I knew she was made to do this work. She has a great sense of empathy and compassion for kids that are struggling, or going through a life transition. In addition, she is skilled in working with kids experiencing grief and explains that each person grieves differently and deserves to explore their emotions in a judgment-free zone. Motivated to provide support to kids that she lacked growing up, Elana is able to connect with her clients in a real way. I am also inspired by her view on therapy and breaking down any negative feelings people might have about the therapeutic process. Read more about Elana, and be sure to check out the section on her profound but simple advice for parents!
"I have found that children and, especially, teens, are more receptive to a two-sided, healthy and calm discussion about the situation at hand. When a child or teen feels heard, they feel safe and understood, and therefore more capable and willing to do their own listening from the parents’ side of things." Elana Clautice
New Year's Resolutions for Your Family
We are only a few weeks into the new year, so it's not too late to get those last minute resolutions and habits mapped out. Better late than never, right? The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published recommendations for "healthy new year's resolutions" for children of all ages.
Founder of Non-Profit: B.R.A.K.E.S., a Teen Pro-Active Driving Course
NHRA Drag Racer and Radio Host
Meet Doug Herbert---an amazing individual and champion for our youth. Doug's story is touching and his work is powerful. I had the privilege to chat with him last week and am excited to present you with his insight and wisdom. In 2008, Doug lost his two young sons in an auto accident and vowed to find a way to prevent other families from experiencing this pain and grief. B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) was born that same year. This is not your typical driver's ed class! BRAKES courses are conducted in locations around the country in places like
the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Southern California at Pomona Fairplex, to name a few.
Students drive cars donated by KIA in a course that teaches them how to avoid accidents on a slalom course, how to handle distraction, car control and recovery, and what many students describe as the fun part of the course--the "panic stop," (driving as fast as they can and then slamming the brakes and whippping the wheel). Parents must attend this free course (which does involve a $99 refundable deposit) along with their teen. Doug's program is making a difference in the lives of teens across the country and statistics show there is approximately a 64% reduction in crashes of BRAKES graduates. To learn more about the program, gather some excellent tips from Doug, and find out how your child can participate (rumor has it the program is coming to the Atlanta Motor Speedway), read on!
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.