Category Archives: Professional Development

Georgia School of Addiction Studies: A Recap of Our Week in Savannah

IMG_2795The 8th Annual Georgia School of Addiction Studies (GSAS) was held August 25-29, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah. The theme, “Unleashing the Power: Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery” speaks to the power we each have in our field to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.  This annual conference brings together professionals in the prevention, treatment and recovery fields and provides GUIDE  staff the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet newcomers in the prevention field while attending sessions designed to share the most recent research and most impactful strategies for creating change in our communities. For the 8th consecutive year, GUIDE staff members participated in the conference in a number of ways and were grateful for the opportunity to attend.

Ari Russell serves on the GSAS Board of Directors as a representative from the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia (PCCG). She is an active member and arrived in Savannah early to assemble participant packets, set up registration tables and prepare for the conference. Ari was also part of the contingent of GUIDE workshops offered during the conference. Ari facilitated both the 6 hour Ethics in the Prevention Field and the 3 hour Ethics for Recertification courses as well as co-facilitated a workshop on writing a Drug Free Communities grant with Ellen Gerstein of the Gwinnett Coalition.

GUIDE082014_021In addition to the three workshops Ari led, GUIDE’s Associate Director Jessica Andrews-Wilson taught four workshops over the course of the five day conference. Jessica facilitated two 3 hour workshops, Youth Voice and Choice in Prevention Programming and One Campaign, Many Messages: How to Turn Your Prevention Campaign into Social Media Content, and two 6 hour workshops for prevention professionals seeking PCCG credits, Cultural Competency and Communication Skills. All of the workshops GUIDE offered were met with praise for their engagement, meaningful activities and high-quality content.

IMG_2911While Ari and Jessica were busy teaching, other GUIDE staff including Mahuli Jakubek, Molly Vance and Sarah Stokes attended multiple sessions, learning and gathering information to bring back to influence the work we are engaged in around Gwinnett County. These staff members attended workshops by renowned speakers including Mike Nerney and Merrill Norton and learned more about the effectiveness of underage drinking laws, the impact of underage drinking on adolescent development, latest research regarding marijuana and heroin and how to get more involved in prescription drug abuse prevention. As always, the information shared at GSAS will benefit not only our staff, but our entire community as we share the new knowledge we gained.

photo (8)Georgia Teen Institute (GTI) had a special part of GSAS with an exhibit to promote our summer conference, recruit new youth action teams and volunteers and sell our Caboodle and Commonality Cards. Our staff took turns staffing the exhibit and talking with conference participants about opportunities to engage with us through GTI. We are always excited to share our passion for GTI with others – and were thrilled that several participants bought some cards to use within their own programs!

GUIDE082014_077Thursday was an important day during the conference. Celebrated as “Prevention Day” each year, Thursday features the Prevention Awards Luncheon where several valuable individuals are recognized each year. 2014 marked the first time a youth award was given, and we are proud to announce that the recipient of the first annual Youth Ambassador Award was our very own Josselyn Garcia! Recognized for her dedication to prevention and her diligent and meaningful work in her high school and across Gwinnett County, Josselyn was presented the award in front of the crowd of prevention professionals, beaming GUIDE staff members and her parents. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) also honored Ari with an award for her Extraordinary Contribution to Prevention to celebrate her 28 years of leading GUIDE and the field of prevention in Georgia. Jessica was invited to share highlights of Ari’s work and our staff were thrilled that we pulled off the surprise of this award! On Thursday evening, Ari and Jessica conducted business as they participated in the PCCG Meeting and then conducted one of three interviews for people applying to receive credentials as Certified Preventionists. One of the other interviewees was our newest Program Specialist, Molly Vance. When Molly receives her credentials later this month, GUIDE will again be one of only a couple of agencies where all program staff  are credentialed!

As always, we left Savannah thankful for a week of connecting, learning and growing and renewed in our passion for prevention and proud of our contributions to the conference and the recognition our team received. We are already looking forward to the 2015 conference!


Custom + Quality = GUIDE Training Events

With more than 25 years of experience coordinating, planning and implementing training across the state, GUIDE is your source for a custom, quality event! GUIDE specializes in substance abuse prevention, youth development and leadership for both youth and adults.

IMG_3752No matter your group – youth or adults, large or small, non-profit or corporate – we are willing to work with you to plan and implement a custom event in your community… or anywhere you desire! Put our experience to work for your school, community or company by contacting us to be a part of planning a new, or improving on a pre-existing, program or conference.  Whether it is planning and taking care of all the small details, or simply providing a professional workshop session, GUIDE staff will work to fit your goals and needs, whatever they may be.  We will also make it a priority to work with the budget available to you.

August is always a busy month of custom training events for GUIDE with the start of programming and the new school year. We’ve already had several trainings throughout the state this month and still have more to come before September.

IMG_2605On August 11, GUIDE staff conducted a teen summit with 60 students at the Douglas County Performance Learning Center. At the beginning of the summit, participants were greeted with door prizes and energizers to get them ready for the day. Afterward, they took part in engaging, hands-on workshops related to leadership and goal setting. Through partner and group discussion, creative projects, and the use of GUIDE’s Caboodle Cards, these workshops provided resources and tools necessary to be successful during the school year and beyond. The day ended with a large group session of icebreakers and energizers. During this time, participants had the opportunity to learn about each other and how to work better as a group.

IMG_2774Later that week, GUIDE staff facilitated three workshops with 65 students at the Turner County Freshmen Orientation. Each year, Turner County Freshmen have the opportunity to see and learn about their school prior to the start of the year, and we were grateful to be a part of this fantastic event! The workshops conducted included themes of respect, staying engaged while in school, and time-management. Although the workshops were only 30 minutes in length, the GUIDE facilitators did an exceptional job leading meaningful conversation, engaging participants in activities, and sharing expertise about what to expect in high school.

This month, GUIDE also partnered with the Gwinnett County Coalition’s program, the Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute (GNLI) and Gwinnett SToPP. Each year, these organizations request GUIDE to facilitate teambuilding to start things off for their newest members during their annual kick-off retreat. New members are asked to work together all day Saturday and Sunday of the retreat to learn about their programs, receive training related to creating change in the community, and learn how to work better as a team. GUIDE staff are instrumental in leading new members through these developments and really help to get things moving right at the beginning of the retreat.

GUIDE staff will also conduct two workshops for the Atlanta Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club. The workshops will tackle topics related to Project-Based Learning and STEM in afterschool programming. During the Project-Based Learning workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the key characteristics of project-based learning and how it differs from other models and approaches; learn the principles for designing, assessing and managing project-based learning projects; and gain tools and resources for implementing project-based learning in youth development programs. STEM participants will come to understand the importance of implementing STEM in afterschool, participate in sample activities and facilitation, and review how scientific inquiry relates to STEM.

If you’re interested in custom events like the above, or something totally different, please don’t hesitate to contact our Director of Training and Capacity Building, Mary Kate Chapman ( We strive to provide a quality training every time and will work with you to customize the best event for your budget or link you with someone who can.

GUIDE, Inc. Trainings: More Than Just Professional Development

Sylvia Comer of Elite Women of Excellence participates in researching a relevant topic during the GOCF-funded Project Based Learning workshop in 2013.GUIDE trains hundreds of youth and adults every year in topics ranging from leadership to substance abuse prevention to youth development. Through different grants, contracts and partnerships, GUIDE typically offers more than 75 trainings a year across the state. It is inevitable that we have some people who attend multiple trainings every year…and some people have been attending GUIDE trainings longer than most of our youth participants have been alive! We love to get feedback from our participants and find out what they liked best about our training and, more importantly, how they are using the information back in their communities. Earlier this year, we reached out to several people who have participated in multiple events offered by GUIDE to get their thoughts about the trainings they attended.

One name we regularly see on our registration list is that of Veronica R. Dowell from Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services. Veronica has been attending trainings hosted by GUIDE since she started working with youth and families in the prevention field in 1994! Over the last 20 years, Veronica has participated in a number of prevention trainings, including the PCCG-required Core Courses, Governor’s Office for Children and Families-funded workshops and several conference workshops conducted by GUIDE. Veronica says that she can’t pick a favorite training that she has attended because, “to be honest, since I have NEVER had a bad training with GUIDE, it would be hard to say if I had a favorite.” Two other regular participants are Becky Gay from Communities in Schools of Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County, Inc. and Sylvia Comer from Elite Women of Excellence. Both Becky and Sylvia have attended several trainings offered through our Governor’s Office for Children & Families grant. Sylvia says she attends these trainings “to seek better ways to engage and impact students.”

Becky Gay and her colleagues, Lisa Cox and Jill Alexander, from Communities in Schools of Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County, Inc. at the GOCF-funded Educators' Conference in 2011. These three ladies represent the hundreds that GUIDE impacts through our training events yearly. It is always our hope that we are sharing tools and resources that make a positive difference for the participants who attend. When asked how the trainings she attended had changed her work and program, Becky shared, “By attending GUIDE trainings, you learn while you are putting yourself in the place of the student so you see how it feels to be the student, while also seeing how the instructors are making the lesson happen. GUIDE trainings also always encourage youth voice and we have been able to get valuable feedback and input from our students that, in turn, has strengthened our programs.” Sylvia feels similarly and said, “The information given can be used immediately, and since you are actively participating in the training, you feel comfortable with the tools and ideas learned.”

We love to hear when programs have taken information, tools or resources and used them back in their communities. After attending a workshop on best practices in youth development, Veronica received a kit of supplies to conduct several of the activities used. She said, “I used the egg activity when was in charge of doing a team building activity with my co-workers. It was awesome!” Becky loves our Caboodle and Commonality Cards. She said, “Our favorite tools that we have received from GUIDE training are those cards. We have all used them in work-related AND personal settings!”

Veronica R. Dowell of Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services works with her team to transport 12 plastic eggs across the room using only the tools provided during the "Radioactive Eggs" activity at the Best Practices in Youth Development training in 2012. By conducting these trainings, we help participants build the knowledge and practice the skills they need to create highly effective programs for youth and adults. For example, participants like Veronica who have attended our prevention courses are better equipped to provide research-based programming, ensure that their programs are culturally relevant and operate ethically. Others, like Becky and Sylvia, who attend our youth development trainings, walk away with ideas on how to infuse asset-building into their existing programs, discover tools for providing high-quality in-house staff development and understand the value of incorporating youth voice in all aspects of their work.

If you’ve ever attended a GUIDE training, what did you walk away with? We’d love to hear your favorite parts, the tools you’re using and how your organization has benefited from your attendance! 

Join Us for PCCG Prevention Courses in July!

GUIDE is excited to announce another full week of Prevention Training taking place July 21-25! This is a fantastic opportunity to take all four PCCG core courses in one week. Don’t miss out!

What’s PCCG Anyway?

IMG_4035The Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia (PCCG) is a 501(c)6 organization with committees covering credentialing, recertification, training, public relations, resource development and prevention ethics. PCCG works to advance the prevention field by promoting credentialing standards of excellence. To fulfill one of the requirements to become a credentialed Preventionist in the state of Georgia, applicants must attend all four core courses (Fundamentals of Prevention, Ethics in the Prevention Field, Cultural Competency for the Prevention Professional and Communication Skills for the Prevention Professional). We’ve made this super easy for you! We’re offering all four in just one week!

To learn about additional requirements for credentialing, click here.

What Will I Learn?

Participants will learn about and explore an array of pertinent topics including, but not limited to:

  • 177Protective and risk factors;
  • Prevention processes/programs that represent each prevention strategy;
  • What works in prevention;
  • Defining prevention strategies;
  • Outline of historical timeline in prevention;
  • Basic introduction to the Principles of the Code of Ethical Conduct for Prevention;
  • Ethical principles using the interactive methods and role-plays that encourage and support adult learning;
  • Interpersonal communication skills, facilitation, public speaking and good listening skills; and
  • Cultural diversity and prejudices in a safe environment in order to learn how to increase cultural competence and create safe spaces in your programs and organizations.

Participants will learn all of the above AND have fun at the same time. It doesn’t get better than that!

I Can’t Attend All of the Trainings that Week. Can I Register for Just One?

Attend one, or attend them all! To find out more about the individual training opportunities, see below.

Fundamentals of Prevention (A PCCG Core Course)

Date: Monday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 22
Time: 9 am – 4:30 pm
By:  GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $100 per person

Description:  This course, approved by the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia as a Core Course, will provide a basic foundation of prevention knowledge that can be further expanded through ongoing prevention training and development. 

Ethics in the Prevention Field (A PCCG Core Course)

Date:  Wednesday, July 23
Time:  9 am – 4:30 pm
By:  GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost:  $60 per person

Description: This course, approved by the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia as a Core Course, is designed to provide a basic introduction to the Principles of the Code of Ethical Conduct for Prevention, Early Intervention and Health Promotion Professionals and Volunteers. It will also provide an overview of the ethical dilemmas that Prevention Professionals encounter in their work. Using the Code of Ethics from the Prevention Think Tank as a framework, participants will explore ethical principles using interactive methods and role-plays that encourage and support adult learning.

Communication Skills for the Prevention Professional (A BRAND NEW PCCG Core Course)

Date: Thursday, July 24
Time:  9 am – 4:30 pm
By: GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $60 per person

Description:  This course, approved by the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia as a Core Course, is a response to the prevention domain changes made by IC&RC. In order for prevention professionals to be prepared to interview or test for their prevention credentials, they will need this core course that will focus on interpersonal communication, facilitation, public speaking and good listening skills as well as public awareness campaigns and marketing basics.

Cultural Competency for the Prevention Professional (A PCCG Core Course)

Date:  Friday, January 17
Time: 9 am – 4:30 pm
By:  GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost:  $60 per person

Description:  This course, approved by the Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia as a Core Course, will give Prevention Professionals a refresher in cultural awareness and appropriateness in the prevention field.  At a young age most people learn how to recognize differences more quickly than similarities, and how to dislike others who are not like us. In our ever-increasing diverse communities, understanding, tolerance and appreciation for differences is necessary to running effective prevention programs. This session will include activities and discussions exploring cultural diversity and prejudices in a safe environment in order to learn how to increase cultural competence and create safe spaces in your programs and organizations.  Bring an open mind, as we will discuss critical diversity issues such as racism, ageism, heterosexism and sexism.

Okay, I’m Hooked! How Do I Register?

photo (15)We would absolutely LOVE for you to join us for our week of Prevention Training in July. See below for registration details.

Each course is priced separately as indicated above.

A $10 per person, per training discount is available for those who register more than four people at one time. Participants MUST all be registered at the same time and by the same person in order to qualify for the discount.  Agencies who have individuals register separately WILL NOT QUALIFY for discounts.

All costs include light breakfast snacks and coffee, lunch and materials.

All courses incur processing fees to cover the fees charged by the online registration service. These fees vary, as they are based on your total registration cost. When requesting payment from your organization, please take note of these fees. The courses are the base prices listed above PLUS fees.

Online payment is available during registration via credit or debit card. An option to pay by check is also available. Checks should be mailed, with invoice/confirmation available after registration, to GUIDE, Inc. Checks MUST be received by July 11.

All courses require pre-registration.

Click here to register now!

Join GUIDE for Upcoming Training Opportunities

IMG_3540Want to learn how to involve families in your afterschool program? Need ideas for developing successful programming that engages both the youth you serve and your adult staff? Check out GUIDE’s training series taking place through October. Made possible by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, GUIDE is offering these amazing training opportunities for only $10! Plus, participants will walk away with 5.75 NASW credits per workshop. Don’t miss out!

Family Engagement: Strategies for Success

Date: Wednesday, May 14
Time:  9 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Henry County Chamber of Commerce, McDonough
Funded By: Governor’s Office for Children and Families
Conducted By: GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $10 per person

Description: Thirty years of research confirms that when families and caregivers are engaged in their children’s and teenager’s education, youth earn higher grades and test scores, attend school more consistently, complete more homework, demonstrate more positive attitudes and behaviors, graduate from high school at higher rates, and are more likely to enroll in higher education than students with less involved families. Harvard Professor Robert Putnam has written that given a choice between a 10% increase in school budgets or a 10% increase in family engagement, he would invest in family engagement due to its positive impact on youth outcomes.

In this workshop, participants will gain the knowledge, tools, and resources to effectively design a comprehensive, well planned and long lasting partnership with families and caregivers. Participants will leave with a host of best practice tools, techniques, and resources that will assist in the development and implementation of a successful family engagement program. 

For more information and to register, click here.


Developing Dynamic Programs and Activities

Date: Thursday, June 26
Time: 9 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Alpharetta Business Center, Alpharetta
Funded By: Governor’s Office for Children and Families
Conducted By: GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $10 per person

Description: Youth development professionals are designers by nature. An essential act of the profession is the design of learning experiences to engage and motivate youth. Yet with so many responsibilities and so little time, planning can quickly become a burden. This workshop is designed to ease that burden and reinvigorate your spirit of innovation.

Whether you aim to design innovative and imaginative learning experiences from scratch, seek to enhance the implementation and impact of existing curricula, are searching for a myriad of individual activities to keep your program exciting, or want to employ longer term project-based learning experiences, THIS WORKSHOP IS FOR YOU!

Participants will gain knowledge, skills, and a host of resources for implementing high-yield learning experiences that meaningfully engage youth and staff ready to hit the ground running.

For more information and to register, click here.


Effectively Using Social Media

Date: Thursday, July 10
Time: 9 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Macon, exact location TBD
Funded By: Governor’s Office for Children and Families
Conducted By: GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $10 per person

Description: In this interactive course, participants will learn how to create multiple Social Media messages for a variety of channels from a single campaign or issue.   Participants will have the opportunity to see examples of a successful Social Media presence and practice crafting messages related to their own work.

Participants will leave with an understanding of strategies for leveraging facts, issues and impacts of their afterschool, youth development or abstinence messages through Social Media, be able to apply best practice principles to craft messages for various channel and learn how to use Social Media to network with others in the field.

This course is appropriate for those who have a general understanding of the Social Media channels, but want more information on content creation and strengthening their Social Media presence. We will discuss Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Blogging.  The course will not include setting up accounts or the basics on how to use these sites.

Registration coming soon!


Developing an In-House Approach to Staff Development

Date: Thursday, August 7
Time: 9 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Peachtree City, exact location TBD
Funded By: Governor’s Office for Children and Families
Conducted By: GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $10 per person

Description: The need for effective professional development for staff in the field of afterschool and youth development is well known. However, due to the limitations of cost and travel, it is often difficult to ensure that all staff have access to professional development opportunities such as workshops and conferences. 

When designed and implemented effectively, in-house professional development capitalizes on the expertise and wisdom of members of your program team and can be leveraged to create an extremely effective system.  The benefits are multifold. This powerful staff development approach can foster accountability, collegiality, professionalism, and pride. Staff will feel appreciated and respected for their contributions and knowledge, and become confident and more competent in their own practice.

This interactive workshop will provide participants with the knowledge, tools, and resources to design and implement a high quality in-house professional development system that is tailored to your program’s culture and needs. 

Registration coming soon!


The Road to Sustainability

Date: Wednesday, September 10
Time: 9 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Conyers, exact location TBD
Funded By: Governor’s Office for Children and Families
Conducted By: GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $10 per person

Description: Program sustainability is often thought to exclusively mean raising money. But money is only part of the equation. Raising money depends on having a quality program and demonstrating results. And showing effective results, in turn, is based on strong management practices. As such, getting to sustainability requires a carefully constructed plan, a vision, and a broad base of support.

This workshop addresses several key facets of sustainability that in combination, will lay the groundwork for ensuring your program continues on a long-term basis. Through an array of interactive and hands-on experiences, participants will gain knowledge, skills, and resources in three fundamental areas of sustainability: building collaboration, advocating for support, and finding funding. 

Registration coming soon!


Using Inquiry and Insight to Improve Program Quality

Date: Thursday, October 30
Time: 9 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Atlanta Marriott Century Center, Atlanta
Funded By: Governor’s Office for Children and Families
Conducted By: GUIDE, Inc. Staff
Cost: $10 per person

Description:Curiosity begins at an early age. Children are naturally inquisitive about everything they see. Yet throughout childhood and adolescence, curiosity diminishes significantly. Adherence to curiosity over time creates the path to further and further learning. It is those who continue to ask questions – those who answer one question and ask another – who eventually become the experts in given fields. How do we help our children and youth never to lose their curiosity? How do we help them accept what they are told but also to question what they are told? It is up to us as adults to encourage wonder in our children and youth.

Our morning workshop session, Cultivating Curiosity, will explore curiosity and the inquiry as valuable cognitive resources – for youth and for adults. Participants will gain an understanding of how to encourage the development of wonder and awe in youth and how these traits facilitate the development of lifelong learning.

The morning session will be followed by 2 breakout sessions – Infusing Positive Youth Development into Prescribed Curricula and Self-Assessment as a Vehicle for Continual Program Improvement.

In Infusing Positive Youth Development into Prescribed Curricula, participants will apply the insight gained in the opening session by learning to adapt prescribed curricula to incorporate youth development best practices. Embedding positive youth development strategies in curricula ensures that youth are excited about their learning, feel involved in the process, learn how to generate and extend ideas, apply imagination and seek alternative innovative outcomes. However, integrating innovative and imaginative approaches in the curricula does not mean abandoning the prescribed objectives.  In this breakout, participants will gain the tools to help them identify the essential understanding in curricula and design creative instructional activities that establish meaningful and impactful learning experiences while maintaining fidelity to the curricular model.  

In Self-Assessment as a Vehicle for Continual Program Improvement, participants will apply a lens of inquiry to their own practices as youth development professionals. In this workshop, participants will gain tools for taking steps towards continual quality program improvement by gathering information, examining what staff, youth participants, and other stakeholders are doing and saying, and assessing the quality of the program. Participants will learn how to employ tools that specifically focus on the critical items of quality and develop systems for integrating self-assessment in the infrastructure of their programs.

Registration coming soon!


Course Fees, Discounts, Payment & Registration Information

DSC07402Each course is priced separately.

All costs include light breakfast snacks and coffee, lunch and materials.

Online payment is available during registration via credit or debit card. If paying by check, it should be mailed, with invoice/confirmation available after registration, to GUIDE, Inc. Checks MUST be received by the date indicated on the registration page. This date varies per workshop.

All courses require pre-registration!