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Time In with Dr. Tim: Giving your child tools to deal with bullying

October 31, 2014

As long as there have been children in social situations, there has probably been bullying. I imagine even the caveman-era kids and their parents had to deal with these issues. Most of the children we help at Youth Villages have encountered serious bullying or even been the bully.

Bullying is something all of us take seriously. In fact, many schools and organizations have zero-tolerance policies on bullying. But we all know it still happens. It’s important to recognize that both adults and youth have tools to deal with bullying behaviors. While it’s never children’s own fault when they are bullied, it’s important to empower them with ways they can respond when it happens. With some help, most kids are able to come through these pitfalls successfully.

Here are four types of bullying to look out for:

  • Verbal: threats, insults, name-calling or spreading rumors
  • Relational: social isolation or intimidation
  • Physical: violent physical assaults like kicking, punching or property damage
  • Cyberbullying: harassing others via social media and cell phone usage

When children talk to you about an incident that happened at school or on the playground, they may or may not call it “bullying.” Depending on their age, they may say: “Someone was mean to me,” or “Someone hit me.”

If your child is in danger physically or emotionally, you should step in; but many bullying incidents are not so extreme. First, help your child understand that he or she is not at fault, that there is nothing they should or could have done to prevent this. The bully has problems that need to be brought to the attention of people who can help and that needs to be done.

You can help your child think through the incident for himself or herself. Ask questions that guide the conversation.

“What could you do if this happens again?” you might ask.

Your child might reply: “I can’t do anything!”

This is a great time for your child to learn that there is always something he or she can do to respond or react to a situation. Guide the conversation and help your child come up with good reactions.

“Could you just walk away?” “Could you make sure you’re with a friend at the time something is likely to happen?”

Usually, your child will come up with an appropriate next step. Something your child is comfortable with and has thought up has the best chance of success.

It’s important for children to learn to stand up for themselves. You don’t want to go out and get boxing gloves like the dads in the old sitcoms did, but it’s good to teach your child different, effective ways to react.

We don’t do our children any favors by solving every problem for them. As part of their development, it’s good for kids to experience the satisfaction and empowerment that come from overcoming a tough situation. In life, people are mean sometimes; it happens on playgrounds and in conference rooms later on.

Learning ways to overcome a difficult situation gives children important life skills, increases their confidence and builds resilience. It helps children develop what psychologists call “self-efficacy,” that critical belief in our own ability to handle situations, complete projects, reach our goals.

As parents, we must step in when our children are in danger of physical or emotional harm. We also must help our children develop the skills to handle such life situations. If children are not in serious physical or emotional danger, guide them as they work through the experience on their own – it’s an important step in their development toward adulthood.

Tim Goldsmith, Ph.D., is chief clinical officer at Youth Villages, where he directs a staff of clinical specialists who oversee the work we do with children and families across the country.
Dr. Tim and his core clinical managers have nearly 100 years of experience helping children with the most serious problems. Together they oversee the counselors and specialists who work directly with parents, teaching them ways to help their children overcome serious problems and go on to do well at home, at school and in the community.

Dr. Tim Goldsmith, Youth Villages' chief clinical officer

Dr. Tim Goldsmith, Youth Villages’ chief clinical officer

Tim Goldsmith, Ph.D., is chief clinical officer at Youth Villages, where he directs a staff of clinical specialists who oversee the work we do with children and families across the country.

Dr. Tim and his core clinical managers have experience helping children with the most serious problems. Together, they oversee the counselors and specialists who work directly with parents, teaching them ways to help their children overcome serious problems and go on to do well at home, at school and in the community. This year, our clinical and counseling staff will help more than 22,000 children across the country.

Now Dr. Tim and his staff of experts can answer your questions, too. All parents have moments when they wish they could consult with an expert. If you have a question about your tween or teen’s behavior, send it to

Tribute to Excellence Fall Dinner raises nearly $40,000 for Youth Villages Mississippi

October 31, 2014
From left: Katja Russell, Youth Villages executive director of Mississippi and Alabama, with Mississippi local board members X, Y and Z.

From left: Katja Russell, Youth Villages executive director of Mississippi and Alabama, with members of Youth Villages’ Mississippi Board, Susan Smith, Stephanie Rippee and Amanda Tollison.

Nearly 200 business and community leaders gathered Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, at the Country Club of Jackson for Youth Villages’ 2014 Tribute to Excellence Fall Dinner to raise almost $40,000 in sponsorships and donations for the transitional living program in Mississippi.


View a photo gallery from the event.

This year’s event, presented by Sanderson Farms, honored Reverends Luther and Janet Ott for their incredible impact on the lives of Mississippi children through their work with Stewpot Community Services and the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson.

Katja Russell, executive director of Youth Villages Mississippi, shared information on the services Youth Villages provides to children and families across the state. Amy Adams, assistant director of programs, spoke about transitional living and the YV Scholars program. She was joined by Renee, a former foster youth, who is currently receiving transitional living services. She became a YV scholar just last year. Renee discussed how meaningful Youth Villages’ programs can be and how the care and love of her YV foster mother, Linda Porter, forever changed her life.

Adrian, Christi learn to trust each other

October 30, 2014
Youth Villages Family Intervention Specialist Lori Platt, left, with Adrian and Christi

Youth Villages Family Intervention Specialist Lori Platt, left, with Adrian and Christi

Rebuilding trust between a mother and son doesn’t happen overnight. It’s gradual, sometimes incremental. In Adrian and Christi’s case, regaining trust in each other was essential to their success.

Adrian, 15, was placed in state custody in 2010 because of his mother, Christi’s neglect.
Christi, who’s in recovery, had struggles with addiction. When custody was restored, the two had a difficult time. Therapy services for the family weren’t working, and Adrian was closing off, refusing to communicate with Christi. What little trust they had in each other faded.

“We couldn’t talk to each other without screaming,” Christi said. “Everything related to Adrian and me was just going backward.”

In the meantime, Adrian’s withdrawal escalated, and he had thoughts of harming himself. His ideations resulted in an ongoing cycle of hospitalization, then residential treatment and outpatient care. Nothing was working. Following one severe incident, the hospital referred Adrian to Youth Villages Oregon’s Christie Campus. There, he took a turn for the better.

He was discharged and placed back home with his mother, where the family began intensive in-home services through Youth Villages’ Oregon Intercept®. Lori Platt was their family intervention specialist.

Lori met with the family at least three days a week. She learned that Adrian had trouble coming to terms with his mother’s past behavior, and Christi was at a loss for what to do about her son’s actions. With Lori’s help, Christi and Adrian began taking small steps toward trusting each other.

They first accepted that each was doing the best they could.

“I learned a lot from Lori,” Christi said. “Before I took Adrian’s actions personally. But it wasn’t about how I parent, it’s about how Adrian feels.”

Conversely, Adrian began communicating more with his mother. They both understood it was OK to disagree. The two began using collaborative problem solving as a means to work together to address a problem or question.

“They started with small things,” Lori said. “Then they gradually worked up to more difficult problems associated with their relationship.”

CPS allowed Christi and Adrian to discuss previous barriers in a different context. It restored their trust and reestablished the roles for each that had been muddied by their pasts.

“It wasn’t just about Adrian, it was about us as a family,” Christi said. “We were able to work through our issues and Lori was there to support me and to support Adrian.”

Adrian began doing simple things to help out around the house. He began participating in Youth Move, a local peer support system. He continued playing music, something he enjoys.

“He plays seven stringed instruments, but guitar is his favorite,” Christi said. “Now he channels his energy in a positive way – he plays and it makes things OK.”

Adrian discharged successfully in July. The family continues to receive therapy, but the home is significantly different.

“Things are awesome,” Christi said. “I can’t express the changes I’ve seen in my child. I’m just really grateful for what Oregon Intercept and Lori did for us. She met us and talked to us whenever and wherever we needed.”

Trio of adopted siblings find new forever home together

October 30, 2014

Joseph and Sandy have always had a special connection with children. Sandy has a background in social services, working with children in state custody.

“My heart, as well as my husband’s heart, became those children,” Sandy said.

After working with children and having three of their own, Katie, Ally and Blake, they decided they wanted to adopt someday.

The couple became certified foster parents in October last year. Hilary Anderson, senior placement counselor for Youth Villages, called shortly after to place a sibling group of three with Joseph and Sandy.

They fostered the three siblings for nine months before their adoption was finalized.

“Since they have been here, they have grown leaps and bounds,” Sandy said. “When they came to us, their self images were so low they couldn’t look at anyone when speaking or being spoken to. Now they can. They smile with genuine smiles.”

The couple has taught their children healthy boundaries and expectations.

The children are attending counseling and improving in school.

“They adjusted beautifully in their home and get along just fine with their three adoptive siblings,” said Elena Tanase, Youth Villages adoption specialist. “Sandy and Joe have their hands full having to take care of six children, but they are wonderful parents. We could not be happier for these children.”

To learn more about adoption through Youth Villages in Tennessee, visit our website at For information about adopting through foster care no matter where you live, visit

On Oct. 2, Joseph and Sandy officially adopted Garrison, Meghan and Nathan.

Youth Villages’ staff were a constant and steady support for the family during the fostering and adoption process. Meg Clement, Department of Children’s Services family service worker, also helped during the process.

“Ashley Cofield, our Youth Villages caseworker, was incredible,” Sandy said. “Supportive, informative, friendly, helpful and concerned. The kids and I grew to love her. Hilary answered any questions we had, supported every decision we made and was just as thrilled as we were when we finally had the children placed with us.”

With the support of family, friends and Youth Villages staff, the family celebrated their happy ending outdoors with cupcakes, apple cider and gifts.

Women of Excellence Breakfast raises more than $110,000 for Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus programs

October 16, 2014

Learn about some of our success stories in the Women of Excellence Breakfast program video.

Our 13th annual Women of Excellence Breakfast raised more than $110,000 to support the work the Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus is doing to help adolescent girls. More than $23,000 of the event’s proceeds was pledged to support our campus’ beyond-the-classroom programming, which helps girls build confidence, develop new skills and find joy in learning.

Click on the photo to see a gallery from the event.

Click on the photo to see a gallery from the event.

Three hundred guests joined Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley at the Sheraton Boston Hotel Oct. 9, 2014, to help Youth Villages recognize four inspirational women who make a difference in the lives of girls through their professional, volunteer or advocacy efforts.

We’re grateful to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley for helping us recognize the 2014 Youth Villages Women of Excellence honorees for their important work advancing the lives of girls across Massachusetts: Linda M. Driscoll, Jacquelyn Lamont, Queenette Santos and Stephanie Guirand.

We’d also like to say a special thanks to Krysta, age 18, who so eloquently shared her story with us and how the Germaine Lawrence Campus helped her on her path to success.

If you weren’t able to attend, please take a few moments to read Krysta’s story below and view event photos in this online gallery.

It’s not too late to contribute and make a difference for the girls receiving help at the Youth Villages-Germaine Lawrence Campus.


Learn more about our event’s honorees:
Read more…

Cornhole tournament helps Youth Villages kids in the Triangle

October 10, 2014
Kristie (center), a young lady receiving help from Youth Villages, is joined by Shawn Olender and Jesica Averhart from cornhole tournament presenting sponsor American Tobacco.

Kristie (center), a young lady receiving help from Youth Villages, is joined by Shawn Olender and Jesica Averhart from cornhole tournament presenting sponsor American Tobacco.

More than 100 guests gathered on September 25 at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham to participate in Youth Villages’ Cornhole Tournament, presented by American Tobacco. The community response was tremendous, as the second-year event raised $13,085.

One-hundred percent of proceeds from the cornhole tournament will allow troubled youth in the Triangle, who are receiving services from Youth Villages, the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities they otherwise would be unable to afford, such as summer camps, after-school programs and sports.

Thank you to our sponsors:


Karl Thor of Eye d’Neau performs live music at the cornhole tournament.

Karl Thor of Eye d’Neau performs live music at the cornhole tournament.

Winners of the cornhole tournament take home trophies designed by Youth Villages children.

Winners of the cornhole tournament take home trophies designed by Youth Villages children.

See the Flickr gallery for more photos from the event, and don’t miss the video on Youtube.

Youth Villages expands to Oklahoma; Tulsa native leads intensive in-home program

October 9, 2014

Youth Villages, a provider of children’s mental and behavioral health services, has begun helping children and families in Oklahoma after opening an office in Tulsa Oct. 1.


Youth Villages Oklahoma will provide the Intercept intensive in-home services program to 40 children and families in Tulsa through a partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Funding for the start-up of the Tulsa office is being provided by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

“We are excited about this new and innovative partnership between the George Kaiser Family Foundation, DHS and Youth Villages,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “This is another opportunity to bring a nationally recognized agency with a proven program to Oklahoma to support our efforts in creating a comprehensive and effective child welfare system.”

Jessica Moore, a Tulsa native and resident, will lead the new office as regional supervisor. At Youth Villages, Moore has worked from locations in Dallas, Texas and Memphis, Tenn., as a family intervention specialist, residential counselor and clinical consultant. She is a licensed professional counselor. The Youth Villages Tulsa office will employ about 12 staff members; most will be family intervention specialists working with families of troubled children in their own homes an average of three times a week. Youth Villages’ staff is available 24/7 to the children and families they help, working around families’ schedules, meeting them before work or in the evening, when the whole family is together.

“I’m so excited to be helping my home community, the community where I live and grew up,” Moore said. “Youth Villages will be introducing intensive home- and family-based services designed to strengthen families and provide them with the tools and skills they need to parent children with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues effectively and to prevent or reduce the time a child spends out of the home for treatment.”

Moore grew up in Tulsa, graduating from Nathan Hale High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri Valley College and a master’s degree in Christian counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Moore and her husband, Jamie, have two children, Bailey Grace and Caden James. Jamie Moore is pastor of Sequoyah Hills Baptist Church in Tulsa.

Founded in 1986, Youth Villages’ mission is to help emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. This year, Youth Villages will help more than 22,000 children from 20 states and the District of Columbia through a wide array of programs, including intensive in-home services, residential treatment, foster care and adoption, transitional living services, mentoring and crisis services. The organization calls its approach Evidentiary Family Restoration, which focuses on providing intensive help to both the child and family in the home and offering measurable positive outcomes and accountability to both families and funders.

Youth Villages’ focus on strengthening families consistently produces an 80 percent success rate of children living successfully at home even two years after completing a Youth Villages program. Youth Villages has been recognized by Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. For more information about Youth Villages, visit

About the George Kaiser Family Foundation
GKFF is a charitable organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, dedicated to providing equal opportunity for young children in the community through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services and civic enhancement. Founded in 1999, the foundation invests heavily in expanding the availability of high-quality, early childhood education for low-income children in Tulsa County. GKFF also supports numerous health and human service organizations in the Tulsa area to reinforce its anti-poverty efforts. In addition, GKFF supports and develops projects in community health, female incarceration, civic enhancement and beautification in the City of Tulsa and participates in many other community initiatives. GKFF is a supporting organization of the Tulsa Community Foundation. As a supporting organization, GKFF has a stated mission of engaging in charitable activities that are consistent with the purpose of TCF. For more information about the George Kaiser Family Foundation, visit

About the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is a global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change for themselves, the Jewish community and the broader world. Schusterman pursues its mission by working collaboratively with others to support and operate high-quality education, identity development, leadership training and service programs designed to help young people cultivate their growth as individuals and as leaders.


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