ASK is a non-profit (501c3) organization dedicated to supporting families and youth with a goal of improving the system of care for children’s mental health. Through collaboration with families and community partners, we hope to guide this system toward becoming more family-driven, youth-guided, and culturally competent.
We believe that the support that comes from someone who has ‘been there’, and who can personally relate to the obstacles, frustrations, joys and celebrations of raising a child is often extremley valuable to families. As parents of children with mood, behavioral, and emotional disorders themselves, our Family Support Partners draw from personal experience and perspective to empower families.
ASK offers opportunities for youth with emotional, behavioral, and mood disorders to be empowered to impact youth services locally, within the state of Michigan, and nationally through it's Calling All Youth M.O.V.E. program. This service is available to high school aged youth in Kalamazoo County who want to speak up and be heard by adults, teachers, govenmental agencies, therapists, counselors, juvenille justice, schools, and other authority figures in their life.
A new service for youth with emotional, behavioral, and mood disroders is coming soon to ASK. The service is called Youth Peer Support and will be provided by a young adult who has personal experience with similiar challenges faced by the youth they will provide services to. It is believed that Youth Peer Support Specialist will be able to connect with youth in away that other professionals may not be able to. Come back and check our website for more information soon.
In 2004, when a group of individuals with ties to the local chapter of the Michigan Association for Children with Emotional Disorders (MACED) decided they’d like local control over policies and fundraising, they applied for nonprofit status and ASK was born. At approximately the same time, another local group was working on a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) federal grant to fund children’s mental health system of care work. The six year nine million dollar grant was awarded to Kalamazoo County in October 2005, with Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (KCMHSAS) named as recipient and fiscal agent. KCMHSAS named their grant project Kalamazoo Wraps (KWRAPS).
ASK was tasked with providing a resource to families in need of guidance and support, serve as a bridge to systems including Mental Health; Juvenile Justice; Education; and Child Welfare, and received a very large increase in funding to serve as the family-serving organization. Through time, ASK was able to build infrastructure, implement the Family Support Model, a peer to peer model of service delivery, and expand its programs for families. In addition ASK became part of a national program called Calling All Youth (CAY) M.O.V.E. focusing efforts on giving youth a voice while developing leadership and life skills.
Though the SAMHSA grant was completed in September of 2010, ASK continues to maintain strong relationships with its system of care partners and to expand on programs and services that will allow for families to provide the best support for their children. In 2016, ASK partnered with KCMHSAS to begin offering a new service called Youth Peer Support through a System of Care Expansion grant,
Raising kids or being a youth can be tough. If you need help, just ASK!