By Kimberly Paulk, Senior Connector at SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits
“No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.”
― attributed to Abraham Lincoln
People of all ages can experience mental illness, but you might be surprised how frequently it can affect children. The U.S. Surgeon General estimates that 1 in 5 children suffer from a mental health disturbance. Here in North Carolina, 10% of those kids are estimated to have a severe emotional disturbance.
So who steps in to help? Here in Charlotte, Alexander Youth Network is one of the primary resources for families and children ages 5 to 18 struggling with serious emotional and behavioral problems. They do this through a variety of treatment programs that are combined into a Service Array – a series of programs that work together from start to finish.
The professionals at Alexander Youth Network – including behavioral health counselors, mental health clinicians, therapists and many more – serve over 7,000 children a year in more than a dozen programs. But their success hinges on their volunteers and supporters.
You can learn more about Alexander Youth Network by joining them for lunch and a tour. If you already know you want to get involved, here are a few ways to get started. Check out SHARE Charlotte for more.
Lunch or Dinner Buddy – Visit the Thermal Road campus once a week to eat lunch with a child and enjoy some recreational time.
Birthday Brigade – Plan and provide a birthday party. This one is great for groups, including students ages 15 and up.
Volunteer Groups – Gather a group and schedule a time to help with a Done In A Day project on campus or do a recreational activity with the children. Perfect team building opportunities for ages 15 and up.
Internships – Great opportunities for students interested in the field of social work, foster care or human services.
Supply Drives – Consider coordinating a supply drive. The children at Alexander Youth Network are always in need of art supplies, recreational materials and hygiene items.