After 30 years of learning about child development and educational pedagogy, this is what I know for sure; in order to thrive, children need trusted adults to believe in their potential.
The impact we have on young minds is profound, and that is a huge responsibility. When I think back to the hundreds, maybe thousands of students I have impacted, I know that I served many of them well, but I also made mistakes.
Neurobiology is an exploding field and the information we have today about the brain, learning, and how trauma impacts the neuro-network is not only fascinating, but easily integrated into our classrooms. I wish I had been equipped with this information when I began my career.
I am committed to expanding my own scope of knowledge each day so I can do better tomorrow, for you, our students, and our community.
Founder and CEO
MBA, Licensed Educator, Level 2 WRAP Trainer
Heather received her bachelor's in elementary education from Indiana University and her Master's in Business Administration from Huntington University. She taught in traditional public schools but shifted professional gears when she connected with Montessori principles. She spent 17 years as an art and STEAM education specialist at a Montessori school while working as a children's book author. Heather is a survivor of childhood trauma and has healed through EMDR and IFS therapy.
TODAY'S SOURCES OF STRENGTH FOCUS: physical health, generosity, family supports, and positive friends.
Sources of Strength Regional Trainer
Tina received her bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and her master’s degree from Spring Arbor University. She taught English for speakers of other languages and taught preservice teachers at Huntington University and Ivy Tech before transitioning into youth development work as director of an afterschool program. It was in that context that Tina realized the most effective approach to engaging and empowering young people is through developing relationships and providing resources that support their families, schools, and communities.
Here’s a powerful exercise: imagine the young people you know today as adults. Who and how do you want them to be? What you visualized provides a vision for what we collectively can do now to enhance future outcomes for today’s young people.
Writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou famously says, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I believe we know better now than we ever have before.
We know that relationships with supportive adults are incredibly protective for young people, regardless of their circumstances and past experiences. We know that young people long to belong. We know that modeling the behaviors we expect is not only an effective approach, it is our obligation. Recent advances in educational neuroscience allow us to know better. This is our chance to do better.
By practicing restorative conversations that encourage respect, repaired relationships, and reintegration after harm, we can do better. By offering everyone in a family, a school, or a community tools and resources that foster resilience, connection, belonging, and strength, we can do better.
Ever since I was young, I believed in the power of serving others. Acts of service can bridge gaps, connect one another, and lead towards empathetic understanding. That is why I feel so privileged to be a part of the School Care Team and to be able to impact the next generation of young people by giving them tools, resources, and support.
Suicide prevention is near and dear to my heart. As a person with lived experience, I use my knowledge to help individuals who struggle with life's obstacles and help them realize that these struggles are temporary and can be overcome. Impacting as little as one individual means I have made a difference and, to me, that is an invaluable experience.
Shane received his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Huntington University in 2013. Since that time, he has worked in the healthcare field in some capacity. Previous to his Schools Care Inc. work, he served as a Wellness, Aquatics, & Sports Director at the Renaissance Pointe YMCA in Fort Wayne, IN. In this role, he was able to positively affect those around him by providing quality member service and a haven for young people in the community. Currently, Shane is entering his second year of his Master's work in Mental Health Counseling from Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Sources of Strengths Focus
Generosity, Healthy Activities, Mental Health, Positive Friends
Sources of Strength Provisional Trainer
WRAP and QPR Facilitator
LOSS Team Leader
WRAP, QPR, and Teacher Cafe Facilitator
Jennifer is a licensed and experienced elementary school teacher and a public speaker for The Respect Team. She is a certified facilitator in QPR and Wellness Recovery Action Planning. She is trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills, and was the community service award winner from Mental Health America in 2012. Jennifer works with Stop Suicide of Allen County and is working with Purdue For Wayne to develop a LOSS team to support suicide loss survivors. She also serves as lead facilitator for, We the Living, a suicide survivor loss support group.
I am passionate about creating a brighter and more inclusive future for youth and adults. My goal is to serve others, educate myself, and teach others to understand concepts that aid in mental wellness. I hope to support people who are ready to change negative habits and help people understand the importance of relationships; I am committed to creating a community of people who relate, understand, and respect one another. I envision a community where caring for mental health is second nature, just as caring for our physical health.
I have dedicated myself to advocating for our most vulnerable and minoritized community members of all ages. I take pride in breaking down stigma associated with mental illness with empathy, sensitivity, and a clear understanding of person first philosophies. I believe that wrap-around service supports will ensure that each individual has opportunity for growth, understanding, a sense of connection, and wellness. I strive to make positive changes in our community by educating the importance of inclusive safe spaces for all.
With my own lived experiences with childhood trauma, mental illness, and attention deficit disorder along with being a mother of a child with autism, I know first hand that a person is not defined by their diagnosis or their behavior. Mental wellness can be achieved with unconditional positive regard, guidance, openness for continued growth, understanding, and education. We can be the movement for change we want for our children, adults, and future generations.
MEd, MBA, Educational Neuroscience Certification
Beckie has over 10 years of experience working in nonprofits and direct services. She received her Associates in Applied Science in Human Services in 2018. She has worked in nonprofits such as United Way 211 and Cedars Hope. While working at United Way, Beckie guided community members in crisis to navigate through systems and advocate for themselves to receive help. During her time at Cedars Hope, Beckie provided a safe space for women with mental illness that were previously homeless to learn basic skills necessary for independence and to become well again.
TODAY'S SOURCES OF STRENGTH FOCUS: Generosity, Mental Health, Family Support, Positive Friends, Mentors
Sources of Strength Provisional Facilitator
Gina Courtois is the Program Director for the School Care Team. She has 21 years of experience in education—17 years as an elementary teacher and 4 years as the Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator for Warsaw Community Schools, where she worked to inspire educators to equally value students’ academic success and emotional wellbeing.
Gina is a survivor of suicide loss, a certified QPR trainer, and a member of the Indiana School Mental Health Initiative.
She earned a B.S. in education at Indiana Wesleyan University, an M.S. in education at Olivet University, and a certification in Applied Educational Neuroscience from Butler University. She also earned her MBA in Education Leadership and her administration license from Indiana State University.