This article is reprinted from the CYFL December Newsletter. If you would like to sign up for our newsletter distribution, please send us an email to CYFLiaison@namisd.org and we will make sure the monthly newsletter is delivered straight to your inbox.
Ron Britton is our featured Family Youth Partner (FYP) of the month. Ron has served as a Family Youth Partner for the past 8 years, serving three years with MHS (Mental Health Services) and five years with Harmonium, where he currently supports youth and families around Individual Education Plans (IEP’s), 504s, behavioral problems, socials issues and more.
One of Ron’s greatest accomplishments working with families is teaching ways to successfully communicate around behavioral health challenges and and mental health services. Ron recalls a pointed illustration of working with a 6-year-old boy who was surrounded by gang involved adults and family members. The child struggled with such extreme triggers and tantrums as to interfere with his daily living. Ron began to work with the child in public social settings, such as grocery stores and parks, where Ron began to introduce structure and boundaries delivered through one-on-one attention. With his powerful, person-centered redirecting and negotiation skills, the young boy’s behavior became positively enhanced. Although Ron was only able to work with this child for a short time, he was able to positively impact this family by providing what turned out to have been the only individual attention the child had received up to that point.
One of the biggest challenges Ron faces in his work are the constant changes and shifting requirements within the system of care. Ron emphasizes the importance of keeping the integrity of the authentic voice of the Family Youth Partners, which not only delivers effective and deeply appreciated peer support to families in crisis, but helps to break the stigma of accessing and engaging with appropriate behavioral health services.
Ron believes that families often possess the answers they need to solve their complex issues and that the Family Youth Partner simply holds up and confirms the solutions and skills already inherent in the family. Ron’s hope for the future is that the organizations utilizing Peer Specialists will have confidence in their abilities and allow them to “use their skills of engagement” to support families. When providers enable FYPs “to use the skills they have learned through their lived experience,” they can empower the families “to be the experts of their own lives.” Ron hopes that California will eventually have state certification that allows Peer Specialists to gain professional acknowledgement and continued room for growth within the behavioral health field.
Ron Britton is also an accomplished published author. His “passion” for writing produces words that encourage, bring insight, and make you ponder. Ron’s book, “Man or Monster?” can be found online.
By RON BRITTON
Poeticification is the process of taking difficult situations to abstract revelations, to move beyond the obstacle and pitfalls we all come into contact with. But we’re not bound by every negative sound and the mountains that seem to look like walls. But we press past the darkness, which seem to be a prerequisite to failure and defeat.
We rise through knowledge imparted by others, sometime friends, community and others. We merge from obscurity, finding hope to help us cope with thoughts, sometimes not our own. We find strength in the counsel and helping hands of our fellow man. Living with dark thoughts can impart mass destruction if there are no checks and bounds to keep those demons from the prowl.
It is through words of life that keeps humanity all right. Sometimes people just need to talk about their aliments to remove all contaminates. Sometimes our minds are poisoned over time through abuse and misuse. There many cries and the people ask the reason why? Sometimes they die without questions being answered. We must hear the cries of the hurting and make a difference in their lives.
It is through poeticification that I’ve overcome many battles with the dark side. I now realize the cries for help. Using my past experience and a guiding light, I now recognize the fight. If we unite to fight this unseen enemy of the mind, we can take off the blinders and no longer have to wonder what the struggles are. We can assess the issues and bless those individuals who are seeking help for a better day.
Sometimes it helps to even pray. Let each and every day be a new beginning for those whom have found a new way to say, “I shall overcome”. No mountain is too big to climb, no valley to low to come out of, and no obstacle that we cannot be overcome with the help of others. POETICIFICATION.
Featuring a Family Youth Partner
Do you know a CYF Partner who is making a difference in their community? Nominations are open for a possible feature in a future edition of Our Voices Matter, a column promoting Caring People in the CYFL Newsletter. Send your nomination via email to CYFLiaison@ namisd.org.