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Centerstone to host two video conferences for parents

Director of Marketing & Community Engagement/Centerstone
Posted on 7/14/2020, 3:37 PM

WEST FRANKFORT -- Centerstone, a national leader in behavioral health care, will host two Parent Peers Empowering Parents (PPEP) meetings via video/telephone providing support, education and inspiration for parents.

All parents are welcome to attend one or both of the following meetings, held from 6-8 p.m.

The first, scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, will feature Melissa Flint speaking on the topic of "grief connections."

Flint received both her masters and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from The Arizona School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University. Dr. Flint serves as a tenured associate professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ. Her primary area of interest is grief and loss, particularly working with families who have experienced the death of their child/children. Other specialty areas include trauma/abuse and depression. She also has a special interest in Marfan Syndrome and related disorders with a focus on improving the quality of life following diagnosis.

Flint currently serves as the chair of the Area Agency on Aging DOVE'S Program board of directors (serving older adults who are survivors of domestic abuse) as well the chair of the Advisory board of directors for the MISS Foundation (serving families who have experienced the death of a child). She also serves as a member of the Marfan Foundation's Quality of Life Expert Panel.

To join online, visit To join via phone, call (888) 475-4499 or (877) 853-5257 and use meeting ID 938 7405 3251.

The second is schedule for Tuesday, August 25, when Amanda Ripley will discuss "behavior basics."

Ripley has managed challenging behaviors across the age span since 2005. She graduated with her masters in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She subsequently worked in multiple states providing applied behavior analysis services. She has presented workshops and trainings across the human services field including aging, developmental disabilities, schools, state-operated facilities, and crisis intervention teams.

To join online, visit To join via phone, call (88) 475-4499 or (877) 853-5257 and use meeting ID 958 1392 3863.

PPEP meetings started earlier this year and are regularly held to provide support, education and inspiration for all Southern Illinois parents. While the meetings are usually held in-person throughout the region, they are now being held via video/telephone due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The aim of the group is to empower parents, to allow them to be heard and to provide parent peer support," said Niki Grajewski, Clinical Manager at Centerstone.

In December, Centerstone announced that it had received a $2.1 million, six-year grant from the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) to improve the mental health of children and communities throughout Southern Illinois. PPEP was created as a result of the grant.

"Among the goals of this ILCHF-funded programs are to improve parental engagement, decrease caregiver stress, and increase peer-provided services in our project area," said Grajewski. "PPEP will be provided mostly by parent peer supporters, parents with experience navigating the mental health system. They will support, inform and help parents build their own capacity for supporting their families.

"We wanted to provide multiple options in several communities to make it easy for parents to get involved and decrease transportation barriers," Grajewski said.

All parents in Southern Illinois are welcome. There is no fee to join and no commitment required to participate.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Brandy Moore at (618) 457-6703, ext. 7772, or