Finding her voice – Akeila’s story

Finding her voice – Akeila’s story

At the age of five, Akelia Keller had developmental delays and was working through the trauma of being abandoned in infancy. However, she eventually found her forever home with Sheila Keller of Augusta.

Middle Tennessee COVID-19 Updates

Middle Tennessee COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 forced Youth Villages to make quick changes to programming in early March, but we’re continuing to meet the needs of our group home residents, children, families and young people during the pandemic.

Nashville Film Festival

Nashville Film Festival

For the fourth year in a row, Youth Villages is partnering with the Nashville Film Festival for the Livin’ Reel project. Livin’ Reel connects local artists with at-risk youth to create an original piece of art. The project will premiere during this year’s virtual festival from October 1-7, 2020.

Tristan’s Story – LifeSet Spotlight

Tristan’s Story – LifeSet Spotlight

Tristan, 20, entered DCS custody when he was 14 years old. “I got caught up in a lot of stuff I was not supposed to,” Tristan said. “I think that’s common for kids who grew up like I did. You have to do whatever it takes to get by.”

Mary Ann’s Journey

Mary Ann’s Journey

It would have been easy for Mary Ann to fail. Raised in an environment of substance abuse and violence, Mary Ann began using drugs at the early age of 8.

I Have Breast Cancer: How Do I Tell My Children?

I Have Breast Cancer: How Do I Tell My Children?

As a caregiver, your first instinct is to protect your child from being upset, scared or hurt. That’s a perfectly reasonable mindset. But how do you hold it together when you’re the one who’s facing all of these emotions after a recent diagnosis of breast cancer? Dr. Rebekah Lemmons provides tips to caregivers to help you both through this journey.

Through LifeSet and YVScholars, Zoe builds his future

Through LifeSet and YVScholars, Zoe builds his future

Young people who turn 18 in foster care are resilient and want to become successful adults. Zoe, entered state custody at 14 years old and moved around a lot before “aging out.”
“I never really unpacked my clothing because I moved so much. I kept it in whatever bag I could find,” he says.

Amani’s LifeSet Story

Amani’s LifeSet Story

Annually, 20,000 youth age out of foster care, and they are often left with little to no resources to transition successfully into adulthood. LifeSet™, an evidence-informed program model developed by Youth Villages, is the bridge from foster care to successful adulthood for thousands of transition-age youth across the country.

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Every day, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. In many communities, these problems are increased by less access to care, cultural stigma and lower quality care. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background. But, one’s cultural background or identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficult. July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and Youth Villages Clinical Consultant Brittany Jones discusses the unique challenges facing minority groups when it comes to their mental health.

Red Kite Society inducts two new members

Red Kite Society inducts two new members

This year Youth Villages of Middle Tennessee will induct two new members into the Red Kite Society; The Joe C. Davis Foundation and the Marlene and Spencer Hays Foundation. The Joe C. Davis Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the LifeSet program and has provided hundreds of young people with basic necessities and other resources to be successful.

Middle Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight

Middle Tennessee Volunteer Spotlight

When COVID-19 forced everyone to make dramatic changes and in-person activities were suspended, Youth Villages’ volunteers remained committed to helping in any way they could. With the help of our established Friend In Need volunteer group, former Backpack Heroes and Holiday Heroes, and current group home volunteers, staff was able to immediately jump into action.

Graduation and LifeSet Spotlight

Graduation and LifeSet Spotlight

This year, a record number of 117 Middle Tennessee young men and women in Youth Villages’ LifeSet program graduated from either high school or college. This is a 30-graduate increase over last year! One shining example of the youth who have graduated is Hailey B.

New Priorities: Ian’s story

New Priorities: Ian’s story

Stealing, drugs, truancy, no father growing up… Ian was headed in the wrong direction fast. With his life spiraling out of control, he was referred to Youth Villages’ MST-EA program.

How to support LGBTQ youth

How to support LGBTQ youth

June is Pride month, a time designated to celebrate the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) members of our community. Focusing on inclusion and support at home is critical for all children and adolescents but especially for those who identify as LGBTQ. One of our core values at Youth Villages reflects the importance of a supportive household: Children are raised best by their families. When at all possible, LGBTQ children belong with their families.

Parental anxiety and COVID-19

Parental anxiety and COVID-19

The consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak are being felt around the world. For many parents, this means having to cope with disrupted education, family illness, loss of household income and much more. Youth Villages clinical consultant Dr. Rebekah Lemmons provides information and tips to parents that may experience anxiety and fear.

A Day in the Life of a Family Intervention Specialist

A Day in the Life of a Family Intervention Specialist

At Youth Villages, Family Intervention Specialists work closely with youth and families through our Intercept and LifeSet programs. And while no day at Youth Villages is ever the same, Katie Guajardo, a family intervention specialist in our Intercept program, walks us through her typical day.

Talking to Your Children about Racism and Inclusion

Talking to Your Children about Racism and Inclusion

Here’s the beautiful thing about children: Most are born with a natural sense of justice and fairness. However, as children develop, they begin to figure out that the color of their skin has more meaning beyond the colors found in a crayon box, and they need caring adults to help them construct a positive sense of self and a respectful understanding of others.

Foster Care Awareness Activities in Middle Tennessee

Foster Care Awareness Activities in Middle Tennessee

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. In Tennessee, approximately 8,000 children are in foster care at any given time. With fewer than 4,000 foster families, the need is ever-present; even during COVID-19. National statistics show that a new child is placed into care every two minutes.

Rebuilding during COVID-19

Rebuilding during COVID-19

Taylor and Tony Barnes are two Youth Villages employees from Cookeville, Tennessee, who married in August. Taylor is a family intervention specialist, and Tony is a LifeSet specialist. They looked forward to starting their lives together, until they lost everything as devastating tornadoes ripped through Middle Tennessee.

The LifeSet™ Difference

The LifeSet™ Difference

Young people who have experienced foster care have so much potential, but without support in their teens and early 20s, they may struggle to transition into adulthood…

Youth Villages receives $20,000 grant from Evergreen Foundation

Youth Villages receives $20,000 grant from Evergreen Foundation

Waynesville, N.C. – Youth Villages recently received a $20,000 grant from the Evergreen Foundation in Waynesville. The contribution will support Youth Villages’ LifeSet™ program, which supports young people ages 17-22 who are aging out of foster care in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties of North Carolina…

YVScholars like Ali show how to ‘defy the odds’

YVScholars like Ali show how to ‘defy the odds’

When Ali graduated from college this year, she decorated her cap with a special message. “I chose to put ‘defying the odds’ on my graduation cap because statistically, I shouldn’t have even gone to college, let alone graduate,” Ali said. “But I did both!”

Employee Spotlight: Mallory Jabaay

Employee Spotlight: Mallory Jabaay

A fresh graduate from University of Indianapolis in 2016, Mallory Jabaay set her sights on a career that would not only improve the lives of children, but their families, as well. Upon entering the job force, she knew she wanted to be as hands on as possible as she worked to keep families together. That very passion is what led her to Youth Villages. Mallory is a specialist who does most of her work within Youth Villages’ YVIntercept program…

Employee Spotlight: Nicole Amenta

Employee Spotlight: Nicole Amenta

Nicole Amenta is originally from Connecticut. As a specialist of social services, she found her way to Bloomington and set sights on pursuing the ideal career. After searching through multiple service providers, she came in contact with Youth Villages. What attracted her to the organization is its unique approach to care and felt that everyone she came in contact with was warm and welcoming. Nicole has been with the organization in Bloomington for a year and a half now and says she loves it…

Andrea finds hope and a new path through LifeSet

Andrea finds hope and a new path through LifeSet

Andrea* was referred to our LifeSet program through a local therapy clinic. Instead of enjoying high school, she was struggling with the death of a parent, intense bullying at school, and severe anxiety attacks. Her school ID card picture was taken the day after she discharged from the clinic and serves as a painful reminder of how bad things had become and how far she had to go to achieve her goals…

Oregon state senate bills for child welfare reform pass unanimously

Oregon state senate bills for child welfare reform pass unanimously

After nearly two years of work from the Children & Youth with Specialized Needs Work Group (CYSN), Oregon State Senate Bill 1 and the accompanying Senate Bill 221 passed the legislative assembly with universal support this past session. These legislative efforts include more than $30 million investment in services to support this vulnerable population and a system of care oversight council to assure accountability…

Helping Children Find A Way Home

Helping Children Find A Way Home

Helping Children Find A Way Home For many children in Tennessee, a foster home provides a pathway to permanency as they move from out-of-home placements to their biological families or to adoption. In fact, many of our foster parents choose to adopt if a child cannot...
Deanna’s life turns around

Deanna’s life turns around

Deanna’s life turns around Deanna, 15, didn’t want to go to school. Finally, all the unexcused absences added up to truancy charges, and the probation office in Jasper, Indiana, assigned Youth Villages’ Intercept intensive in-home services program to help. Upon...