I was speaking to Carrie Weatherhead, the Executive Director of SavingTeens in Crisis Collaborative (SavingTeens), a week ago and realized that I was not up to date on where they are and what they are doing. Here are several questions that came out of the conversation and I am now looking forward to more frequent conversations.
What is the mission of SavingTeens?
SavingTeens is a philanthropic organization dedicated to assisting troubled teens and their families struggling with significant emotional and behavioral challenges including anxiety, depression, addictions and other risky behaviors. Working in close collaboration with the therapeutic community, SavingTeens provides financial and other support to families of teens in crisis.
How have you changed over the last 11 years?
After ten years of growth, SavingTeens hired an Executive Director in 2015. This has allowed the organization to build a stronger infrastructure, streamline our application process, improve efficiency throughout the organization, and improve communications to all of our constituents.
Do you work with interventionists also? Or just consultants that you know?
At this time we are focused on collaborating with Educational Consultants (Therapeutic Placement Consultants). As we continue to grow, we’d like to begin offering more scholarships and partnerships with treatment programs, and include addiction treatment and young adults, too. As we develop those pathways we will welcome the support and input of interventionists.
If a placement professional/ed consultant you have not worked with wants to develop the relationship with StrugglingTeens, should they contact you directly?
Absolutely! We ask that Educational Consultants speak with us before they make a referral so that they understand our process. In addition, once a referral is made, the Educational Consultant agrees to work with the family pro-bono, or at a very discounted rate.
I always thought you were helping one or two families a year with a large percentage of their tuition paid for.
Our application process and scholarship procedure has changed in the last year. We’ve moved away from an open application process and have launched a referral program from qualified Educational Consultants. These Educational Consultants, who donate a large portion of their services, have helped to focus our applications to the most appropriate candidates for our scholarships.
Our scholarship procedure has been refined to allow for more efficient use of our funds. The referring Educational Consultant works with the family to develop the best course of treatment for the young person. Once the plan is developed, SavingTeens’ staff works with the recommended program to facilitate the best scholarship or discount for the family. In partnership with the program and the family, SavingTeens establishes a payment plan for services that includes scholarship, family contribution, and SavingTeens funds.
Average donation made per student in 2015?
Because of these modifications, SavingTeens has been able to serve more families in 2015 than ever before. In 2015, we have funded 11 families through this new formula. Both Educational Consultants and Program Partners have agreed to provide generous scholarships up to 100% of need. Scholarships from programs and professionals have allowed SavingTeens to expand our reach. The average SavingTeens scholarship has been $5,000.
These scholarships, along with sharply discounted Educational Consulting services, and direct scholarships from Programs, have allowed families to contribute the appropriate amount to their child’s care. The SavingTeens Scholarship Committee carefully evaluates the financial situation of each family and determines the most practical contribution. In 2015, family contributions have ranged from $225 to $10,000 per month, depending on circumstances.
What is the percentage breakdown between events vs. individual donors?
SavingTeens funds come from a variety of sources. Individual giving, local events, grants / foundations, and our Annual Event all contribute to our fundraising. SavingTeens is a volunteer driven organization with only one full-time staff. We leverage the time expertise of our volunteers to maximize our assistance to families in serious need.
About the Author
Executive Director Carrie Weatherhead, LCSW, brings a strong non-profit leadership record to SavingTeens. Prior to joining SavingTeens in 2013, Weatherhead held leadership positions at youth empowerment programs throughout Boston. She is a graduate of Clark University and Boston University School of Social Work.
Carrie has a passion for serving at-risk adolescents including youth empowerment theory, community-service learning, and closing the achievement gap. She has a background in community organizing, nonprofit management, program development and implementation.