Oct. 2015 Bulletin: Our October calendar of free activities, trainings, and workshops is inside!
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Better Your Mental Wellness this October

The Youth & Family Center thrives when it comes to providing complementary and alternative medicine! Whether you want to learn the do's and don'ts of nutrition, want to balance your mind and body to a tune with drums and guitars, or need to shake it off during our Latin Heat Workout—we've got an activity for you.

Register to attend an event at the Center today

(786) 802-3448 •

Cyber Bullying Is Prevalent

I remember in high school there was a new social media site that allowed anyone to anonymously ask you questions. I never signed up, thankfully. It was just a way for your peers to bombard you with insults, harmful interrogations, and thinly veiled attacks. The result was the real-life equivalent of that scene from Mean Girls where everyone receives a copy of the Burn Book: chaos.

But even though I stayed out of social media sites whose sole purpose was to allow your friends to anonymously shame you, that doesn't mean I wasn't at the receiving end of cyber bullying. As a teenager, I loved (and still do love!) technology, so much so I decided to participate in a weekly podcast (a relatively new phenomenon at the time) about tech gadgets. I received email after email with unneeded "constructive" criticism: "I hate the sound of your stupid voice." "You know nothing and should just quit." "Nobody cares about you."

The simple truth is cyber bullying is prevalent:

  • Only seven percent of parents think cyber bullying is an issue, while 33 percent of teenagers say they have experienced it.
  • Sixty-six percent of youth who have witnessed cyber bullying have witnessed others joining in; 22 percent say they have joined in themselves.
  • And 90 percent of youth who say they have witnessed cyber bullying ignore the cruel behavor.

I find a certain sense of irony, or perhaps serendipity, in the fact that October is Bullying Prevention Month. October is home of one of the most pervasive days of the year, for those who participate—Halloween. Growing up, when bullying got bad, I often wanted to dress up, disguise myself, and move through space as an entirely different person. Perhaps that is why we observe bullying prevention month in October.

Articles state all the time that they best way to prevent cyber bullying is to monitor which social networks you use, keep your passwords safe, and be alert of communicating with strangers or imposters (A.K.A. catfish). But I think we need to tackle it from the other angle. We should always treat everyone with respect. We should always think carefully about what we say; would you make that comment to someone if you were saying it in-person? And be kind. The Internet can make us feel like we're not communicating with actual people.

We shouldn't have to prevent cyber bullying by telling victims to stay off the Internet, which is ever-present in our daily lives; we should be shaping everyone to be more 
thoughtful Internet users.

Other Interesting Stories from September

  • Bullied former Miami Dolphins football player Jonathan Martin shared that he has attempted suicide. Martin made headlines in 2013 when he left the Dolphins amid allegations that his teammates were bullying him. In an essay posted on his Facebook page, Martin shared that football was "the only thing that [I'm] good at, [my] only avenue to make the shy, depressed, weird kid from high school 'cool.'" He went on to say that he dreaded work, and it caused him to attempt suicide multiple times. He said his bullying issues date back to high school, when he was often told he wasn't "black enough."
  • Gov. Rick Scott expanded an executive order to review and coordinate mental health services in Florida. The addendum to the executive order, which was originally signed in July, expands the pilot program from Broward to Pinellas and Alchua counties. It also expands the agencies tasked with regulating the public mental health system, including the Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration. The addendum was received with a mixed reaction. Mental health advocates in South Florida apprecaited the expansion, but hoped it would also include nonprofits and other organizations that provide behavioral services. Advocates also believe the system has to provide services beyond counseling and medication. "If you have someone with behavioral health needs and they don’t have a home, or they don’t have a job, or they don’t have a sense of purpose, or they don’t have an income, they’re not going to get anything accomplished," said one South Florida advocate.
  • Jails are no place for the mentally ill; I was lucky to get out. This essay by Justin Volpe, a peer support specialist working with the Criminal Mental Health Project in Miami, published in the Washington Post is a must-read. I especially like this astute observation: "Even a brief stay in jail, as short as a few days, can hamper rehabilitation: It reduces job opportunities, harms physical and mental health and increases the likelihood of committing another crime."

Click Below to Enlarge the Calendar

  • Hip-Hop Dance Class and Latin Heat Workout—which have been huge hits at the Center—will continue every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Drums and Guitar class with The Motivational Edge will continue on Monday and Wednesdays from 5pm to 8pm. Art Class will also continue on Tuesdays from 6pm to 8pm.
  • We're providing English as a Second Language classes this month! They take place every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.
  • We're also providing Free HIV Testing on Mon. Oct. 12 and Mon. Oct 26!
  • On Friday, Oct. 30, make sure to join our Harvest Fest!

We Engaged Hundreds at The Children's Trust Family Expo

The Youth & Family Center was happy to participate in this year's Children's Trust Family Expo at the Miami-Dade Fair and Exposition on Sept. 12. Throughout the day we spoke to hundreds of youth, young adults, parents and family members about the services we provide and the activities we host. OK, and we had our own share of fun too—a little face painting never hurt anyone, right? Those who came to our booth had the opportunity to spin our prize wheel and take home Center-branded pens, pencils, first aid kits, flash drives that double as bracelets, and water bottles! If you couldn't make it out to the Family Expo, we hope to see you at the next fair we participate in.

Our WRAP Trainings Went Without a Hitch

We provided both a WRAP Refresher course and an Introduction to WRAP workshop during September. WRAP stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan and is designed as a wellness process to prevent upcoming mental crises.

Our First Movie Night Screened Well

Sept. 25 was the first time the Youth & Family Center hosted a movie night—but it most likely will not be our last. In September, we screened Courageous, described as four police officers struggling with their faith and their roles as husbands and fathers who together make a decision that will change all of their lives after a tragedy strikes close to home.

Tad Received His CRPS Certification!

Our very own peer support specialist, Tadarius Bryant, recently passed his state certification to become a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist! All of us at the Youth & Family Center could not be more proud of Tad and this great accomplishment. During his time at the Center, Tad has engaged and maintained prized relationships with youth and young adults, supported many through continued education, and has helped several young adults find and maintain jobs. With his CRPS certification, we can't wait to see what else Tad will accomplish next!

Thank You, Amigos for Kids!

We wanted to give a special shout out and a very sincere thank you to Amigos for Kids. Amigos for Kids has been an invaluable partner of ours here at Federation of Families, Miami-Dade Chapter and the Youth & Family Center. In August, Amigos for Kids donated school supplies to Federation of Families Miami—not at all unusual for the organization. Over the years, Amigos for Kids has donated countless school supplies and toys to FOF. To learn more about the organization, please visit

Rocío Takes Pride in Engaging Family Members Who May Have Been Hesitant at First

This is a new feature for the Youth & Family Center Bulletin, where we profile staffers (and perhaps participants) about their careers, goals, and how they came about the mental health industry.

First up is Rocío Tucén who is our Family Engagement Specialist at Federation of Families Miami-Dade Chapter and the Youth & Family Center.

Rocío, tell me about your role at the Center and what you do.

Right now I am the Family Engagement Specialist. My role is to engage parents and family members in the Center, in our activities, trainings, and all that we do for the families in order to support them through the recovery process. Basically, I receive the FACES referrals, which are the families that are enrolled in services to receive therapy with the provider. So I reach out to them, let them know that here we have a safe space that they can be a part of and enjoy our activities.

How did you get started in the mental health industry?

Before, I used to work for another agency as a community health worker. Because of my experience with the community, the outreach, and the population that I was able to engage, my manager told me about this position at Federation of Families Miami-Dade Chapter. At first I was kind of curious about it because when you say "mental health," people don't realize what it is. Then, my oldest son was diagnosed with ADD. Also my own addiction to food—I am a food addict. Because of this, I was able to fit in the program. To be able to work in this environment, you have to have previous experiences with mental health. Working toward recovery, trying to lose weight, seeing my being overweight as an addiction helped me to transition into the mental health industry.

What would you say is your proudest accomplishment as the Family Engagement Specialist?

Being able to engage family members at whatever level they currently are on. Sometimes we expect that family members would be engaged immediately in our activities, but it's kind of hard for them because they are going through a lot. So being able to reach out to them and engage them to come to our Center is always my proudest accomplishment. Even though there are families that at the beginning are asked by the provider if they want to be a part of the Center and say no, other family members tell them about us so they come. I approach them and find that those participants are extremely collaborative and so engaged. That is one of my greatest achievements.

What do you feel you struggle most with in this role?

For me, when I have to speak in English, because my first language is Spanish. I struggle a lot with that.

So just a quick fun question: what is the song you can't stop playing right now?

The one that I like most? There is a song in Spanish called "Color esperanza," which is "The Color of Hope" in English, by Diego Torres. It's a song about hope, about how you're able to do whatever you want to, that you only have to know it's something you want and desire from the bottom of your heart. Put in the work, and you can do it. It's achievable. It's not impossible. For me it's the greatest song that I have ever heard.
The Youth & Family Center is a haven for the South Florida community with a focus on young adults and families with mental health and substance abuse experiences. Housing Federation of Families, Beyond Empowerment, and Youth M.O.V.E. Miami, the Youth & Family Center provides workshops, presentations, and programs to better the wellness of our participants through trainings, support, and enrichment activities, completely free to the community.
Federation of Families Miami-Dade Chapter • Youth M.O.V.E Miami • Beyond Empowerment

The Youth & Family Center
111 NW 183rd street Ste. 110
Miami Gardens, FL 33169
(786) 802-3448 •
Copyright © 2015 The Youth & Family Center, All rights reserved.

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