STAR Center In Action- August 2017

Welcome to the August edition of the STAR Center newsletter!

The STAR Center was in the US Virgin Islands, New Mexico and Oklahoma and we had the chance to participate in some exciting initiatives and meet with even more amazing people we want you to know about.

Pictured with me on the left is Abigail Cyntje from St. Thomas in USVI. In a past issue you may have met Dina Cruz, from St. Croix. Ms. Cyntje and Ms. Cruz are both passionate advocates and leaders from USVI who are working towards mental health systems transformation in the US Virgin Islands and advisors to the STAR Center.

Pictured with me on the right are the leaders of the Albuquerque Center for Hope and Recovery, an exciting peer run organization in New Mexico. They are Elise Padilla (Executive Director), Maxine Henry (Co-Director) and Gabrielle Gutierrez (Employment and Economic Development Initiatives). Elise Padilla will be a featured discussant on our next Executive Director’s Roundtable on Marketing and Promoting Your Peer-Run Organization!

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Youth Leadership Spotlight- Shaiheed Days

The STAR Center features young people from across the country who are making a difference in their communities and demonstrating extraordinary leadership in behavioral health that you need to know about! Help us make sure young people in your community are recognized and valued by nominating someone today!

This month the STAR Center recognizes Shaiheed Days from Philadelphia, PA. Check out his story

Youth Leadership Reflection


Creating a Safe and Welcoming Space by Joshua Kogut

“In order for any discussion to be productive, you must create an open and relaxed atmosphere.”

-Anti-Oppression discussion guidelines

The idea of creating a “safe space” has increasingly come up in our social culture. People want to create spaces that are inclusive, welcoming, kind and accessible to everyone, because everyone deserves those kinds of spaces. I think more people have accessed spaces that do not feel good to them, and are trying to create spaces that don't mirror those experiences. This is a great thing! Before we get into the how to do that, let's get into talking about what a safe and inclusive space is.

A space and inclusive space, is a place where anyone can access, regardless of whatever identities they hold. It sounds simple, but often doesn't play out that way in the world. For example, if your space doesn't have a ramp, it automatically excludes anyone who needs a ramp to access the space. This makes a space unwelcoming and emotionally unsafe for a disabled person to access. Another example is if a trans person tries to access a space and is made to feel uncomfortable because of their gender identity. This excludes trans people who want and need to access the space.

Questions to ponder:  When have you felt unsafe or excluded in a space? What did it look, sound, and feel like? How did you know you were unwelcome? Read More

Webinar Recording: An Interview with Dr. Ed Knight

Webinar Recording: An Interview with Dr. Ed Knight: Mastery Through Accomplishment In Mental Health Leadership
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 
2 pm ET

What does it really take to launch a peer run organization? How do you build up a habit of following through on your vision and your decision to make a difference in your community? How do you get people to believe it can happen? These are just some of the questions we addressed in our live webinar interview with Dr. Ed Knight, founder of the Mental Health Empowerment Project and a person whose story made headlines when he transformed what some people called “delusions of grandeur” into his goals and a vision for his community.

Listen to webinar recording!