STARS exists to serve schools and communities by providing prevention, intervention, and treatment services, addressing bullying, substance abuse, violence, and other social and emotional barriers to success.
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 Student Assistance Program of STARS is recognized by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Association as an evidence-based practice. Our SAP is only one of three evidence-based intervention practices listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Practices and Programs (NREPP). STARS services have produced consistent outcomes to include increased school attendance, improved grades, increased youth attachment to school and community, increased individual resilience and reduced suspensions, expulsions, bullying, violence, delinquency and alcohol and other drug use. In 2011 STARS officially adopted three programs of the former Alcohol & Drug Council of Middle Tennessee: Youth Overcoming Drug Abuse (YODA), Deaf & Hard of Hearing Prevention Program, and Recovery Support Services. 2013: 1. Implemented and delivered services and programs promoting healthy youth development in response to community needs. 2. Provided support and awareness for children of Fort Campbell soldiers returning from or departing for tours of duty through our COPING WITH CRISIS program. 3. STARS was listed by the Tennessean as one of the 25 best places to work. 4. YODA, due to their excellence treatment service, outgrew their space and will be moving into a larger space exclusive for their use. Top Goals for 2014: 1. STARS has launched, with the help of Lelan Statom, News Channel 5, Colin Wilson of the Predators, and Bee Attitudes, a BEE a Friend Campaign. This campaign began as a wonderful idea of two Gra-Mar Middle School Students. They believe that being a friend to someone, especially someone who has few friends, can be life changing. STARS is creating a public service /membership program where adults and youth can commit to being a friend for a year, with the lope of a lifetime…”Changing the work one friend at a time.” This program will help combat bullying by promoting compassion and kindness. 2. STARS and Belmont University have partnered to the Mid-South presenters for PeaceJam. PeaceJam is youth and Nobel Peace Laureates working together to change the world. The mission of the PeaceJam Foundation is to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills, and wisdom they embody. Three to four hundred youth from all over the U.S. will be attending the event on Belmont’s campus, at least 200 or more from our local SAP programs! 3. This year is STARS 30th birthday! 4. STARS was selected to serve as a lead agency by the Tennessee Department of Education for the Safe & Supportive Schools (S3) grant. STARS is presenting Youth Engagement Summits throughout the entire state helping high school and middle school youth learn how to engage in their schools to positively impact school climate using each school’s Safe and Supportive Schools climate survey as a baseline. These have proven to be very beneficial to students and adults as they strive to work as a team, maybe for the first time, to improve their school climate.
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.
Recovery Support Services
Includes services for parents participating in the Family Treatment Court under Magistrate Alan Calhoun. In addition to case management and individual counseling for participants, STARS offers the only known “in the courtroom” support group for women who are seeking to gain custody of their children.
Life Management Group: This group meets on Wednesday nights to offer support for clients who have completed treatment or are in recovery, but still need support and education on issues relevant to people with past substance abuse issues. A primary focus of this group is relapse prevention.
Services for Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing are designed to prevent the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs among deaf and hard of hearing individuals, from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing are naturally at higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse because of their increased difficulties with learning, communicating, isolation, depression, and family connection. One out of ten hearing people may become dependent on drugs and alcohol, whereas one out of seven individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may become dependent.
Weekly classes are offered in Davidson County Metro schools K-8 classrooms designed for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Classes are taught using American Sign Language and are presented in a visual format so that the students can easily understand the information. Along with offering information on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, other topics include: self-esteem, conflict resolution, anger management, and problem solving.
STARS offers in-home services that work one-on-one with the families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Services focus on teaching the families American Sign Language and offering any additional support needed whether it be counseling, resources, or educational support.
Statistics show that eighty percent (80%) of children who are deaf or hard of hearing are born to parents who can hear, and only twenty-three percent (23%) of those parents learn to communicate through American Sign Language.
STARS offers services at two after-school programs:
Bridges-Mary McKinney Youth Center (www.hearingbridges.org)
Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church (www. brentwooddeaf.org)
The after-school programs are for students K-12 who are deaf or hard of hearing and offer services such as educational tutoring, life skills, and constructive recreation.
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:We have cultivated additional relationships with different departments within Metro Schools for services. While funding opportunities are limited within the public sector for services geared toward social, emotional competencies, there will be several chances to secure some dollars for the next academic year. In addition, the State of Tennessee, through the new School Climate Center, will have a partnership with MNPS and it is our hope that this will provide opportunity for new funding streams.
Because of the limited grant opportunities, the Board and Staff are vigorously pursuing all possible opportunities for funding. We have increased revenues generated by our three main fund raising events. We have begun the process of establishing an alumni association which we believe will provide new revenues. We have several proposals being submitted in the next few months to serve multiple sites in MNPS with violence and bullying prevention services.
Sumner County Schools faces formidable challenges next year in public funding. Several grants are rolling off. At this point the Federal Department of Education has not released new funding streams for which they or we (STARS) may apply. We will explore additional federal funding streams through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. In addition, the State of Tennessee, through the new School Climate Center, will also partner with Sumner County and it is our hope that this will provide opportunity for new funding streams. Presentations have already been established with the City of Hendersonville, one of the key funders and supporters of STARS SAP services in the community. We have also begun the process of establishing an alumni association which we believe will provide new revenues
Kids on the Block:We have steadily increased the fees for service for KOB presentations and have seen this produce a new revenue stream to supplement the cost of the programs in schools. These funds have been generated at the school building level. To increase the possibility of additional funding, we have spent the last year improving and increasing data collection processes as well as shifting the measure toward more focused outcomes. And, we are also in the infancy stages of developing a KOB training program for high school students, as a part of our youth development strategies for the agency. These initiatives will increase the possibilities of new revenues streams for KOB.
YODA:In its second year, we have secured commitments from the Department of Mental Health services for sustaining funds. We began the process of being able to bill insurance directly for adolescent services and should have answers to this question later in the year. This has always been the intent with the program. However, the process was slowed as the Alcohol and Drug Council began to discuss dissolution. We are confident that this process will be able to be completed and will provide additional revenues.
Other sources:We have created partnerships with Hazelden Educational Publishing and are receiving commissions on product sales for many items related to bullying and violence prevention and substance abuse. Additional partnerships with Hazelden generate revenues through training.
STARS is in the final stages of being reviewed by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices NREPP). Our review should be completed by the middle of 2012 (April/May) and if our scoring is positive, and we believe it will be, a national market for training and distribution will be opened. STARS SAP would be the only Student Assistance Program in the nation to have been through this rigorous process of review. We are already presenting at two national conferences this fall where the evaluation highlights of the last 14 years will be reviewed.
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.
Parents dropping their kids off at school may not realize their child sits next to a young person in the foster care system. Students may not realize their classmate is not going home to his or her own parents, but to a group home or foster care placement. No sign on this child would alert anyone that he or she has likely suffered abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
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. In order to even out the playing field for all children in Middle Tennessee, support for local nonprofit childcare centers and afterschool programs is as vital as ever. By providing educational opportunities and enriching activities for these youths, after-school programs and centers can offer alternatives to potentially less productive and sometimes harmful activities in which youth may be tempted to participate when left to their own supervision.
Copyright © 2014 The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
3833 Cleghorn Avenue, Nashville, TN 37215