STARS mission is to support young people in overcoming social and emotional barriers through creative and innovative programs centering on prevention, intervention, treatment, training and compassion.
Founded in 1984, STARS was originally known as Students Staying Straight and affiliated with the National Center for Youth Issues (NCYI), the founding national organization located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1988 the name was changed to STARS, a program of Center for Youth Issues-Nashville, Inc.(CYIN) and has since expanded to multiple counties throughout the Middle Tennessee region. In April 2007 after recent mergers with Kids on the Block and another Student Assistance Program of the Alcohol and Drug Council of Middle Tennessee, CYIN was dropped and we became STARS Nashville. STARS developed its programmatic approaches on the basis of the best available research in the field of substance abuse prevention/intervention. Original services included; individual student counseling, small groups focusing on students impacted by substance abuse, their own or family members, students who had participated in inpatient treatment and those who desired to remain abstinent. Training for school personnel was a significant focus of the program. The services of STARS were defined as Student Assistance Program services to be consistent with the best practices in the field of chemical dependency for youth. Through several strategic planning processes, STARS revised the mission statement and governing goals/ objectives to address changes in the educational environment and youth culture. While STARS was a single focus student assistance program in its early years, the services are now referred to as “broad-brush.” Services now address student disruptive/violent behavior, school failure, repeated suspensions, bullying prevention, dating violence prevention and student leadership. STARS is also known as one of the leading providers of violence prevention/bullying/ harassment/ training for schools/ community organizations in the United States. In 1986 our goals were largely quantitative. These goals included projections of how many students/teachers would be served, the cost per school of providing services, and a budget, which would help guide the financial management of the organization. Today, the goals reflect both qualitative and quantitative outcomes and include a focus on collaborations to maximize program effectiveness in the community. In 9 counties, over 60 school and community sites, STARS serves over 100,000 students. In 2009, STARS, along with Oasis Center, opened the Youth Opportunity Center - home to 9 youth-focused agencies all working together to share space and integrate services and thus begin to close the opportunity gap that exists for youth in our community. In 2011, with the dissolution of the Alcohol & Drug Council of Middle Tennessee, STARS strategically adopted three of their existing programs: Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse (YODA), Deaf & Hard of Hearing Prevention, and Recovery Support Services. STARS is now a licensed drug and alcohol substance abuse treatment facility recognized by the State of Tennessee.
The top accomplishments from 2016 are: 1.) Kids on the Block successfully piloted a 6-week literacy program for elementary school students performing below reading level. Seventy-five percent of students enrolled in the program advanced a minimum of two reading levels. 2.) For the fourth consecutive year, STARS was named a Tennessean TopWorkplace. 3.) STARS was a finalist for NBJ’s Best in Business Award. 4.) STARS renamed its Junior Board Committee to the Associate Board, taking on more responsibility to and stewardship of the overall mission of STARS. 5.) STARS created an Enhanced Student Assistance Program which provides school-based, clinical counseling services for students struggling with co-occurring mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress and/or grief and loss.
Goals for 2017 are as follows: 1.) Continue to grow our literacy efforts for both our Kids on the Block program and our Services for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. 2.) Complete the review component of our CARF accreditation process to be able to do third-party billing. Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) provides accreditation services worldwide at the request of health and human service providers. 3.) Expand our intensive adolescent outpatient treatment services (YODA – Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse) to surrounding counties.
Our services and trainings are made available across Middle Tennessee, East Tennessee, West Tennessee, the Upper Cumberland Plateau and the rural and suburban communities surrounding these areas. Basically at this point, we offer services statewide. We are also doing trainings and workshops in a few other states.
Completed 3,341 intake assessments for students referred to STARS;
Conducted 14,408 individual counseling sessions with 2,054 students (61% of students enrolled in STARS across counties);
Served 1,287 students through small group counseling (39% of enrolled students);
Attended to 2,597 crisis episodes;
Facilitated 1,297 peer mediation sessions;
Facilitated service learning projects or community volunteer projects for 7,138 students (count may reflect duplicates as some students may have participated in more than one service event);
Facilitated 488 Core Team meetings, and 650 Student Leadership Team meetings
Data Collection and analysis method: Students who participate in STARS SAP small groups or individual sessions complete the STARS Post-Service form at the end of services. The STARS Post-Service form is designed using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Youth Behavior Risk Survey (YRBS) 2013 High School Survey and National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), to assess change in students’ knowledge and attitudes associated with a particular topic. Students are counted toward achieving this performance target when they self-report increased knowledge directly related to feeling more positive about their future.
STARS has clinical services for youth 13-18 yrs through the Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse (YODA) program, providing case management, intensive outpatient groups and individual counseling for uninsured youth with substance abuse problems and their families. YODA also has both male and female specific groups as research points to the effectiveness of single gender counseling groups. The participants of the YODA program include youth with:
The Life Management Groups offer support to those who've completed treatment or are in recovery, but still need support & education on issues relevant to those with past substance abuse issues. A primary focus is relapse prevention.
Data Collection and analysis methods: Youth receiving services from the YODA are evaluated during intake, at 60 days and after 6 months with the Teen Addiction Severity Index (T-ASI). The T-ASI is a semi-structured interview developed to fill the need for reliable, valid, and standardized instrument for periodic evaluation of adolescent substance abuse. It uses a multidimensional approach of assessment as an age-appropriate modification of the Addiction Severity Index. It yields 70 ratings in seven domains: chemical (substance) use, school status, employment/support status, family relations, peer/social relationships, legal status, and psychiatric status. Youth are also evaluated upon intake and discharge using the Socrates 8D. SOCRATES is an experimental instrument to assess readiness for change in substance abusers. It yields 3 factorally-derived scale scores: Recognition, Ambivalence and Taking Steps. YODA collects data via the Teen Addiction Severity Index (T- ASI) upon intake and discharge as well as the YODA exit form to measure decrease in symptoms related to substance use and/or mental health disorders, including involvement with a peer support group or mentor, disengagement from the juvenile justice system, reported negative drug screens by probation officers, increased employment or scholastic activities, and improved school/job attendance, decreased suspensions, and increased community service activities. A client is counted as having reached this target when he/she completes a cycle of treatment services and demonstrates a reduction in unhealthy behaviors and/or drug use as recorded by the T-ASI and exit form.
Services for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) are designed to prevent usage of tobacco,alcohol and other drugs among deaf and hard of hearing, grades K-12.Students who are deaf or hard of hearing are at higher risk for drug & alcohol abuse due to increased difficulties with learning, communicating, isolation, depression, and family connection. Weekly classes are offered in MNPS K-8 classes for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Classes are taught using American Sign Language (ASL) & in a visual format. Other topics taught are self-esteem, conflict resolution, anger management, and problem solving. DHH literacy coach works with ~29 students per week in 3 schools, Eakin Elem,West End MS & Hillsboro HS. She works 1-1 and in small groups on reading comprehension, writing skills, & vocabulary. Testimonial from the Deaf Education teacher at Hillsboro HS:“I have seen huge gains in both receptive and expressive language in the students who are receiving services from STARS.” DHH offers in-home services working 1-1 with families, focusing on ASL & any support needed (counseling, resources, or academics). Statistics show 80% of those who are deaf or hard of hearing have hearing parents, & only 23% of those parents learn ASL. DHH also offers services at 2 local after-school programs.
DHH in-home services work one-on-one with the families of students. Services focus on teaching ASL & offering support through counseling, resources, & educational support.Based on teacher reporting, 100% of students of the 7 families taught ASL in this program showed school improvement.
STARS offers services at 2 after-school programs:Bridges-Mary McKinney Youth Center and Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church.37 students received after-school services/ 50% of students showed an increase in their social coping skills/ 46% of students showed an increase in their connectedness to peers or teachers/39% showed an increase in self-esteem
Camp Rise and Sign: STARS services Camp Rise and Sign’www.hearingbridges.org.-40 students. STARS also offers services at “Camp Summer Sign” at Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church for 8 wks during the summer for DHH children and siblings ages 6-16. www.brentwooddeaf.org. 63 youth were served this year.50% of students showed an increase in their social coping skill-46% of students showed an increase in their connectedness to peers or teachers-39% showed an increase in self-esteem
Working to help DHH High Schoolers to learn information about their future, a cross-sector collaborative leadership team met & decided to create a College & Career Readiness Retreat -- 27 Students attended (10 more than last year)/25 of the 27 students reported improved knowledge in planning for the future. A Counselor works one-on-one with graduating high school seniors to make a transition plan. Help includes: Interest testing, researching & applying to colleges, completing FASFA, setting up Vocational Rehabilitation services -4 students/ 100% graduated with a transition plan and are registered for college in the fall
Prior to joining STARS, Rodger served as the Executive Director of a non-profit organization working with juvenile court referrals. He also was a classroom teacher in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools for 7 years. During his tenure at STARS he has provided numerous school and community based prevention and intervention trainings and consultation services to schools and school systems throughout the United States. He is the co-author of the training seminar Anger, Violence, and You and has been providing Respect & Protect and No-Bullying training for Hazelden since 1995. He is a certified lead trainer for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, and serves as the Tennessee State Olweus Coordinator.
As Past President of the National Student Assistance Association, Rodger continues to serve on the Board of Directors and is currently a member of numerous local and state organizations dedicated to prevention and intervention. Rodger is active in the Middle Tennessee area as a Rotarian, has served as a member of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s Citizens Panel For a Community Report Card on Education (Metro Public Schools) and has been one of the three honorees as not for profit CEO of the Year in Nashville, Tennessee, an award given by The Frist Foundation and the Center for Not for Profit Management. During his tenure STARS has been the recipient of many awards, including the Making A Difference given by the Frist Foundation, and most recently as a recipient of the Frist Center’s Innovation in Action Award for his role in the development of the Youth Opportunity Center, a collaborative venture between Oasis Center and STARS Nashville, housing 12 not for profit organizations dedicated to youth services in Nashville. Rodger has also served as one of the founders and developers of the Tennessee Yes2Kids Conference for youth caregivers and has been its co chair since 2000.
Rodger received his Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from George Peabody College and his M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision from Middle Tennessee State University.
Teresa has been the HR Director for STARS Nashville since 2005. She has served in human resources leadership since 1983 and is a certified professional in human resource management (PHR) through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She received her Bachelor's degree in Human Relations and her Master's degree in Business from Trevecca University.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Public Funding: Over 50% of the STARS budget is related to the funding of our nationally recognized, evidenced-based student assistance program. Since May of 2012, STARS has been listed on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. This is an honor bestowed on programs and practices that have undergone a rigorous review of all programmatic outcomes and evaluations from a scientific perspective. In spite of having strong evidence of success, and enjoying long-term funding relationships with each school system we serve, there are still many challenges regarding sustainability of services. We have cultivated additional relationships with different departments within the schools we serve. Currently there are limited funding opportunities in the public sector at the federal, state and local levels. This poses a challenge for school systems that seek to both maintain and expand services within their districts. STARS has been fortunate in that we have been able to maintain levels of services in many counties but we have lost services in one county, completely, as a result of these reductions in funds. One large state initiative, The School Climate Transformation grant funding stream, expired in FY 2015-2016. Again, school systems have worked hard to maintain current levels of services. This has however, left school systems scrambling to find replacement dollars. The largest challenges will face school systems in FY 2016-2017, and 2017-18. In order to address the potential loss of funds we are in constant conversations with schools and with our own grant writer to scan the landscape for new sources of support for school-based services.
In Tennessee, gang presence has been on the rise since the late 1980s and early 1990s, when gangs first made a concerted push into the state. Since 2011, police have identified at least 5,000 gang members in Davidson County, and gang-related crimes have increased by 25%. Meanwhile, cities with 50,000 or fewer inhabitants have seen gang-related crimes triple in frequency nationally since 2005.
The dramatic achievements of public health in the 20th century have improved our quality of life in a myriad of ways, including an increase in life expectancy, worldwide reduction of infant and child mortality rates, and the elimination or reduction of many communicable diseases. In Middle Tennessee, improvements in preventive medicine and advanced medical technology have resulted in increased life expectancy and improved health for many residents. However, significant health disparities exist in our region, resulting in poor health status often related to economic status, race, and/or gender.
For every $1 spent on addiction treatment, $12 are saved on future social, medical and criminal justice costs. Yet addiction recovery services for low-income and uninsured people are provided primarily by nonprofit treatment centers dependent on funding through competitive grants, private donations and modest payment by patients. These centers are always busy, and patient waiting lists are long.
All Tennessee families should have access to high quality, developmentally appropriate child care and after-school programming for their children, regardless of income level.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
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