SSYP December 2015 Newsletter

Street Smart Youth Project Inc.

December 2015 Newsletter

Mind, Body and Spirit 

Monique Terrell, PSYD

Annually, Street Smart Youth Project holds a youth development retreat which emphasizes exposure opportunities and alternatives to risky behaviors. The 2015 brotherhood/sisterhood retreat carried the theme of Mind Body and Soul/Spirit Connection. Each activity was designed to strengthen/address one of those key areas.  Through evidenced based interventions, recreational, cultural and spiritual enrichment, we endeavored to teach; how emotions can be used to help us grow and achieve our goals; that the most fulfilled and successful lives are lived by people who are working to strengthen their minds, bodies and spirits every day; and that over time and with practice, these three parts of self will support a long, happy and healthy life!!

As a society, we tend to minimize the power of the environment when in fact it is one of the most influential factors which impact our lives. Imagine waking up every day in an environment that is not conducive to growth? The chore of having to remind yourself that you do not have to define yourself by your environment becomes a daily struggle for many. For many of our youth and young adults, the opportunity to excel and transcend their immediate environment becomes a testament to their triumph and for others it becomes a seemingly insurmountable burden.

This year, the retreat took place in scenic Lake Lanier where we were ensconced in an environment that enriched the mind, body and spirit of those in attendance. Just that change of scenery alone was an intervention, sighs of relief and release, relaxed postures and bigger smiles were the evidence. Over the course of four days, we laughed, played and learned. There were cook- off challenges, mentoring groups, individual assessments of needs, healthy relationship games, nutrition classes, bon- fires, field day games and evidence- based interventions (Botvin Life Skills).

The response from our youth and young adults was overwhelmingly positive and we are grateful to be able to provide these type of interventions each year. We look forward to next year’s journey!!

Please click here to see picture highlights from this year’s retreat!

‘Tis the Season

Tamica Moon, MPH, CP

To give. To share happiness. The spirit of giving is a global movement! #GivingTuesday created by 92nd Street Y in 2012 started this movement to unite communities, organizations and people to encourage giving. To do a selfless act in order to help a person or family in need. This giving day is celebrated after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One day out the year they promote #GivingTuesday however we want to keep this movement going past December 1st.

As the Christmas holiday quickly approaches, Street Smart Youth Project is in the midst of our 4th Annual Holiday Gift Drive. Each year we endeavor to bring smiles to those families in need. Too often we hear stories of bad times, failures, unemployment and heartache. These topics seem to trend frequently throughout social media. But how often do we hear stories of attainment, success, love and giving? We can change that story this holiday season by giving a gift, time or even a hug. Despite having our donation box taken from right outside our office, we are more determined to be of help and spread the message of community giving.
While many families can enjoy this time of the year others do not have the same opportunity. In 2011 Georgia, 14.7% of families live below the poverty level, making Georgia the sixth-highest poverty rate in the United States (Atlanta Business Chronicle, 2011).” During this time when unemployment is high and families are trying to make end meets, finding the joy in the holiday season may be hard. It is important to let these families know even though it is hard and things seem difficult there are people willing to help. After all, most of us are only 2 paychecks away from financial straits.
Our Holiday Gift Drive aims to collect unused toys, coats, and monetary donations for families. We are reaching out to local organizations and businesses that would act as a drop-off center for these items or to display a fundraising jar where customers can give monetary donations.  This year, 3 local businesses have joined in the season of giving by collecting for families in need on our behalf. We are so thankful to 3Parks, Perrines and No Mas Cantina for their generosity. Community partnerships of this nature help sustain community- based organizations.
Last holiday season, we were able to provide coats, toys, clothes, and shoes for 12 families in need. The smiles that adorned the families’ faces brought joy to our hearts. Like that old saying goes, “It’s better to give than to receive” and Street Smart Youth Project wants to continue this giving spirit. However, we cannot do this alone and are asking for your help to bring joy to a family. Join us and give today.

Please visit for more information on the holiday drive and/or to make a donation.



Street Smart Youth Spotlight

Jayson Smith

“Many things have shaped my decisions in life from friends, music, but most importantly family. Not the family that I was born into, but the family that has grown with me over these trying years of my life. Street Smart Youth Project is more than an organization to me, it is a home that I am glad to be apart of. Mr. Jayson, Mr. Kush, Ms. Tamika and Ms. Monique. They all have impacted my life in ways I don’t think they understand. They have pushed me to get through high school and they propelled me into going into college. Being a young black boy with seemingly no future, I prevailed with the strength and love of my beautiful and wonderful family. It has not just been the staff within Street Smart that have helped mold me, the friends I have met along the way have helped a lot as well. Brandon, Shanya, Desha, Markus and a host of others. They are truly the closest thing I have to a loving family. SSYP has made me the young man I am growing into and I am so thankful for each and every last one of them.”

These words from Biron Armour a long time member of Street Smart, now a freshman at Georgia State exemplify the impact that Street Smart has on the youth we serve. We are able to provide the positive guidance, love and friendship that in some cases are lacking in the youth’s lives. Although Biron’s journey is far from over. He knows he does not have to travel alone because he has a supportive family of adults and peers that are actively cheering him on as matriculates into adulthood.

Here at Street Smart we congratulate Biron for overcoming many a pitfall that youth in any city succumb to and for continuing to pursue his goal of graduating college and being a positive influence on the younger Street Smart members.

Congratulations Biron, you are truly Street Smart. Keep up the great work!!

  •  Toys For Tots – Greater Vine City Opportunities Program will be holding a toy distribution Saturday, December 19th. The Distribution will be held from 11am – 2pm at 755 Joseph E. Boone in Simpson Plaza.
  • Yes WE Can 2 – The English Avenue Public Safety Committee will be painting a second round of wooden trash can containers to be displayed throughout the community. The painting event will be held Saturday, January 16th at Grace Midtown Church located at 642 Northside Dr. 30318 (Use Travis St. entrance) from 11am – 2pm.
  • Street Smart Support – Supporters can generate donations for Street Smart Youth Project Inc when they buy items on Amazon’s Electronics Gift Guide at
  • Georgia Gives Day – Thanks to GA Gives Day donations, we raised over $1300 toward our new van, please note that you can still contribute toward our goal of $10,000!
  • Holiday Office Party and Gift Wrapping Event – Come join us for holiday giving on Monday, December 21 from 5- 8pm, 781 Wheeler Street NW, Suite 15, Atlanta GA 30318.

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