Long before the general public began to see the mental health side effects of COVID-19 and quarantine restrictions, a group of community-minded local individuals were putting a plan in place to help those who cannot s helping themselves – local community children .
The Camilla Foundation was founded to serve local youth with ethical and effective mental health counseling at little or no cost. Costs for these services will be supplemented by private donations, grants, and the use of student resources from Georgia Southern University and Bulloch County volunteer service providers. By serving local youth, the whole community is strengthened.
“I am thrilled to introduce the Camilla Foundation to our community. It’s been a vision in the making for several years, and now we’re watching it take shape and lay the groundwork to begin work in Statesboro and Bulloch County,” said April Miller. “Mental health needs in our community are at an all time high. We have seen a nationwide increase in people feeling severely depressed, anxious, traumatized, using drugs, contemplating suicide or self-harm, and committing suicide; those statistics are true here in Bulloch County as well. This is a critical time in the life of our community, especially for our young people.
Local clinician, April Miller, organized a team of people to help implement the commitment that her mother-in-law, Diane Camilla Teel Miller (1948-2009), experienced when she served her community. Dr. Miller has been a family and consumer science instructor for much of her life. His life’s work has focused on creating healthy growth spaces for individuals and families. The Camilla Foundation pursues its mission by providing support services, educational groups, and other services both in an office environment as well as in after-school programs, summer camps, and on school campuses.
“Diane Camilla Miller, the namesake of the Camilla Foundation, has worked tirelessly to teach and empower the most vulnerable families in our community to achieve their goals and move forward in their lives. I am honored to work on the alongside the Camilla Foundation Board to continue the legacy of caring for the most vulnerable in our community, empowering them to move towards overall mental and emotional well-being,” said Miller.
Joining Miller is the Camilla Foundation Executive Committee made up of President Joey Cowart, Scott Marchbanks, Catherine Sawyer Hendrix, Jessie Averitt Rushing and Beth Williams Boykin. Each member of the Executive Committee is dedicated to serving the community.
“Addressing the mental health needs of our young people has never been more important. I am honored to work with such a dedicated and determined group of people to make a difference that will have a direct impact on our community,” said President Joey Cowart.
A group of community members have also joined the cause in an effort to raise awareness and funds for this critical need as members of the Camilla Foundation Board of Trustees. Board members include Lisa Aaron, Dorsey Baldwin, Dr. Scott Bohlke, Donald Chavers, Kristie Powell Crooms, Scott Hagan, Shannon Hodges, Joy Lanier, Lisa Rowe Lee, Laura Taulbee Marsh, Renee Perry, Lauren Ross, Harley Strickland Smith and Catherine Play a little tune.
“Children today are overwhelmed by all kinds of pressures, difficulties and expectations that weigh heavily on their mental health. As a community, it will take many people working together to foster mentally healthy children who grow into mentally healthy adults,” said Lisa Lee. “It was an easy ‘yes’ to join an organization that takes a proactive stance to help provide essential skills and services to our children and youth right here at home. »
In Bulloch County, 239 students in the sixth- through twelfth-grade school system reported attempting suicide during the 2020-2021 school year. Of these students, 57 reported five or more suicide attempts. This is a problem that the community cannot ignore. Currently, the Camilla Foundation is hiring interns and fulfilling a supervisory role with the goal of beginning to provide services later this summer or early fall.