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Facilitators for Girls Group slide

Facilitators for Girls Group

Alchemy is proud to announce the following facilitators for our new girls group

Terri Leslie, MSSA, LISW-S

New Staff Terri LeslieTerri has worked in the mental health and counseling field since 1979. She has specialized in prevention work with an emphasis in working with parents and adolescent girls. Known for the creation of innovative and engaging programs, she also specializes in program development and implementation, having developed curriculums for such programs as the Mother-to-Son Program, KIDS (Kids Interacting and Discovering Self) Club, Girls Wellness, and the On-Track Programs at Child Guidance & Family Solutions where Terri served as Director of Prevention Programs. Terri has supervised numerous programs, staff and university interns. She has provided consultation services to Summit County Juvenile Court, Project AGAPE, and the Upward Bound Program of Kent State University and Minority Behavioral Health Group where she is also on the Board of Directors.

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Currently, Terri coordinates the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at Akron Children’s Hospital and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Akron, School of Social Work. She has numerous awards and recognitions, including the Louis D. Kacalief Award as staff person of the year. A licensed Social Worker and licensed Social Work Supervisor, Terri holds a Master of Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Jan M. Rookard, MSW, LSW

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New Staff Jan M RookardJan has over 16 years of experience as a social worker, working in both home health care and Summit County Children Services. She has experience in coordinating community-based services for clients, identifying social problems and their severity and inter-related-ness. Jan successfully assisted young mothers to complete their personal and professional goals while perfecting their parenting skills in a Mentoring Mothers program. She has developed leadership training programs for management and staff personnel and has wide knowledge of community resources for all ages and backgrounds. Jan also has a background in cosmetology and is a vocalist for a local band that performs in the Tri-County area.

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Jan is a Licensed Social Worker in the State of Ohio, holds a BSW in Social Work from Capital University and a MSW in Social Work from the University of Akron.

Jasmine Benson-Williams

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New Staff Jasmine Benson-WilliamsJasmine is a graduate assistant working in the LGBTQ center at Kent State University, where she assists with research, runs support groups and assists students with stress management and other needed services. Jasmine is obtaining a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Bowling Green State University. She began her career as a school-based mental health specialist at the Minority Behavioral Health Group. In that role, Jasmine assisted K-6 students with symptom management, and provided education on empowerment, coping and other skills needed to improve interactions with peers and adults at home and at school, helping youth to function at their highest levels. Prior to that, she worked at Coleman Behavioral Health supporting adults with a range of mental health diagnoses. This involved linking them to community resources and providing psychoeducation, advocacy in mental health court and other settings, coping skills, and overall wellness support.

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Blowing their Dreams into the Vessel

Prior to working through a myth (the myth eventually works through us), we drum for a little while, then greet the youth. Following this, all in silence, we have a symbolic cleansing. After the cleansing we pass the vessel around for the youth to blow their dreams into the vessel. The youth sit in a circle by age, youngest to oldest. When they initially receive the vessel, all hands are raised for a brief few seconds with their palms blessing the youth in possession of the vessel. Once the vessel reaches the youngest, our hands remain in the air, with the intention of the youngest feeling he is most protected by the group.

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Urban Youth Use Myths and Drums to Become Men

Drawing power from mythological stories and self-disclosure, this award-winning mentoring program transforms teens into community leaders.

Dressed in black shirts with a prominent red and white ring across the chest, they sit in a circle, in a classroom, banging their hands against tilted djembe drums. One would think this group of young men was a Black drumming group, but something larger is happening here. These urban young men are participating in a mentoring program run by Alchemy, Inc, which uses the power of Myth, journaling, and drums to unlock their potential. Although most of the students are Black, and their favored instrument has West African origins, the group is open to any male students at the school. (Alchemy has run programs for girls before and intends to launch new ones soon.)

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The Purpose of Myth: Interview with Dennis Slattery

What is the purpose of myth? How is it used? Listen to Dennis Patrick Slattery Ph.D., who is a core faculty member at Pacifica Graduate Institute who helped shape the development of the Mythological Studies program. He is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 17 books, including four volumes of poetry. Visit dennispslattery.com

Becoming Our Own Heroes with Myths and Rhythm with G. Kwame Scruggs and Catón Lyles

G. Kwame Scruggs (of Alchemy Inc. from Ohio, also a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards recipient) collaborated with Caldera teaching artist Catón Lyles during an In-School Residency at partner school Open School North. With their guidance and through West African drumming, groups of students explored the common themes in myths, the knowledge that is passed from generation to generation through storytelling, and how those stories applied to lessons they’ve learned in their own lives.

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