New program brings together school districts, mental health workers
Program brings together school districts, mental health workers
T.E.A.M.S. staff members, from left, Chris Sidick, Melissa Sidick, Rob DeFillippo, Kelly DeFillippo and Kim Koebler are shown at C-Side Sports Academy, where the programming, which will work cooperatively with area school districts and mental health agencies, will take place.
Life Coach Industries, a Washington-based organization that provides therapeutic programming for school-aged clients, hopes to bridge the gap between school districts and mental health agencies and workers with a new endeavor at C-Side Sports Academy in Canonsburg.
T.E.A.M.S., which stands for therapeutic expression and movement through sports, has developed a program and curriculum for students ages 5-21 who receive school support through an IEP/behavior plan, or those who receive wrap-around services for a diagnosed mental health need.
Rob DeFillippo, chief executive officer of Life Coach Industries and T.E.A.M.S. curriculum designer, worked as a special education teacher and is currently the lead behaviorist for Allegheny Intermediate Unit in Homestead. He told a small group of school administrators and local politicians who gathered at C-Side Sports Academy that his combined 17 years of experience allows him to see things from both a mental health point of view and a school district’s point of view. “Mental health workers do a fantastic job with intervention, and school districts do a fantastic job in academic areas,” he said. “But, there is no communication between the two.”
The program, which employs licensed school psychologist Kim Koebler, will develop individualized behavioral, emotional and social goals and monitor each student’s progress, as well as report it to the student’s school district. And, the programs will take place on the field at C-Side.
As facility owner Chris Sidick showed the crowd around the space, he pointed out its security features, including concussion-tested and wheelchair-accessible turf, video surveillance inside and out, secure, locked doors, and direct wiring to police and emergency medical services.
“This place was built for kids,” he said.
In addition to getting the school district and mental health workers on the same page, the program will allow mental health workers to meet with students at C-Side, taking them out of schools, which DeFillippo said is a liability and safety issue.
“This is something that we feel extremely passionate about,” he said.