OH–YOU WORK WITH THOSE “GOOD” KIDS!!
The WHS Youth Upload
- Giving Voice to Young People with stories to share of courage, survival and recovery;
- Debunking and demystifying stigma about our clients
- Allowing healing and learning through story-telling and creative expression
- Continuing the human connection of resiliency and healing
Wolverine Human Services is known throughout the state of Michigan for our work with young people. WHS has a well-earned reputation for providing services to the most challenging, oppressed, disenfranchised and disempowered teens across our state. In my years with the agency there have been countless challenges that WHS has stepped up to meet, to improve upon, to implement and design, and to better meet the needs of children. It is with great passion that most of us engage in our work. WHS employees demonstrate a tireless energy to helping improve the quality of life of children in our programs.
That being stated, I will admit that nothing is more frustrating than stopping at a local store or gas station when proudly wearing my WHS I.D. badge and having a community member say….“OH—You work with those bad kids!” My response is always a look of wide-eyed amazement. “No. We work with those amazing and courageous kids!” When I consider this oft repeated banter, it occurred to me that the level and nature of the misunderstanding our community friends may harbor about our population of young people. So, we decided to try to do something about that misconception. WHS has created a venue on our website called: The Youth Upload.
The WHS Youth Upload provides our clients and their families with opportunity and venue to share recovery oriented stories of healing and overcoming adversity. We are encouraging our clients to share their work on our WHS website. Our goal is to help our larger community understand that amazing and courageous clients that we are honored to work with at WHS. Youth can (with permission) submit their poetry, art, positive/motivational raps, recovery stories, education based articles, and research related to the human journey, recovery and healing.
There has long been a history of storytelling across various culture and ages. More recently, SAMHSA and other research entities have developed evidence to add to the body of information regarding the art of storytelling. For more information on storytelling as a healing process, just search your browser for “Healing through storytelling”. You will find a plethora of articles and new stories ranging from Huffington Post to SAMHSA itself.
Some of the benefits of storytelling and artistic sharing include:
- Provides a rich and creative venue to empower young people to share their own history and stories, and to ‘give back’ to the larger community.
- Allows young people a creative way to move through their own journey of healing and recovery.
- Artistic expression motivates, inspires, and leads a path for change.
- Stories have the ability to engage and capture readers and other young people.
- Stories lead to discussion, communication, and increased understanding.
- Stories overcome barriers and serve to unify race, gender, age, culture, spirituality, and orientation.
- Stories are more memorable and leave an impression.
- Stories help overcome stigma and misconception, and focus on the healing aspect of human behaviors.
- Stories make our amazing clients more ‘real’ and show their human element of strength and courage.
WHS hopes to encourage, grow, and develop our Youth Upload page over the upcoming years. We encourage clients to provide us their artistic work, and hope that this page will offer community members a more in depth and more realistic view of the lives of our young people. It is with great pride and commitment that we continue to “Help Children to Be Victors” and story-telling and art sharing via Youth Upload is just one more way.
Katrina Brock, LMSW, CAADC, CCS, is Director of Clinical & Quality Services at Wolverine Human Services. Katrina has over 16 years of direct clinical as well as administrative experience. She leads WHS’ Quality & Performance Improvement Department and is the agency lead consultant for accreditation with the Council on Accreditation. She is very proud of WHS’ new programs and evidence-based practice initiatives. On the side, Katrina enjoys doing outpatient therapy directly with clients and working with diverse populations of clients.