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$1.7 Million Federal Grant Implements Project REAL in 13 Middle Tennessee Counties

Centerstone Staff Members to Provide Prevention Services for Adolescents at Risk for Substance Abuse and HIV/AIDS

Nashville, Tenn.–Centerstone, the nation’s largest provider of community-based behavioral healthcare, today announced the implementation of Project REAL, a program designed to prevent or reduce the onset of substance abuse and transmission of HIV/AIDS among adolescents, particularly within the African-American and Latino communities. Funded by a five-year $1.7 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), Project REAL provides comprehensive, culturally sensitive, evidence-based services for 450 adolescents in 13 Middle Tennessee counties. The project also provides extensive outreach and education to 1,500 community stakeholders and offers substance abuse/HIV training to an additional 300 stakeholders. Centerstone will perform rapid HIV testing, counseling and referral for all program participants.

Project REAL offers practical resources and prevention services to help teens confront pressures associated with substance abuse and risky behaviors that can lead to the spread of HIV and AIDS,” said John Page, Centerstone’s Senior Vice President for Child, Adolescent and Family Services. “This program will teach adolescents about the dangers of substance use, help teens get tested for HIV/AIDS and provide additional assistance and counseling for those who are in need.”

In addition to services provided by the program, Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) is conducting a study to determine the efficacy of the outreach and prevention services. Individuals who participate in Project REAL are evaluated on the following outcomes: substance abuse status, HIV risk behavior, academic achievement, juvenile justice involvement, and social connectedness. Data is collected prior to individuals beginning the program, immediately following program completion, and six months after program completion.

Project REAL is available in Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson and Wilson counties in Tennessee. Seven Centerstone staff members lead the project, combining two evidence-based multi-cultural curricula, Keepin’ It REAL and Be Proud! Be Responsible!

As Centerstone’s Director of Prevention Services, Doris Vaughan oversees all prevention programs for Centerstone, including Project REAL. Vaughan earned her Bachelor of Science degree in therapeutic recreation from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla. She earned her Masters of Education degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Ga. Additionally, Vaughan is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC). She has been a Centerstone employee for 22 years.

Dr. Charles Brown, Program Evaluator for Project REAL, ensures all objectives and goals of the program are met. Brown earned his Bachelor of Science degree in health education from Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn. He earned his Masters of Education degree from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. He completed his Ph.D. degree in human performance with a concentration in health education and disease prevention from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Brown is a member of the American Evaluation Association and American Association of Health Education.

Camille Lashlee is Program Manager for Prevention Services. She manages all prevention programs and services for Centerstone of Tennessee, including Project REAL. Lashlee earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Murray State University in Murray, Ky. She earned her Masters of Arts degree in human services administration from Vermont College, Norwich University in Burlington, Vt. Lashlee has been a Centerstone employee for 16 years.

As the Program Coordinator for Project REAL, Amy Cannon oversees and implements program activities. Cannon received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She earned her Masters of Science degree in business administration from Union University in Jackson, Tenn. She has been a Centerstone employee for nearly five years.

Emily Glenn, Community Outreach Specialist for Project REAL, presents program curricula to classroom groups. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. She earned her Masters of Arts degree in professional counseling from Argosy University in Nashville, Tenn. Glenn has been a Centerstone employee for three years.

As a Prevention Specialist, Stacey Richards works directly with adolescents enrolled in Project REAL, facilitating educational group sessions and providing rapid HIV testing and community outreach. Richards earned her Bachelors of Science degree in social work from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Richards has been a Centerstone employee for 16 years.

Michael LaBo joins Centerstone as a Prevention Specialist for Project REAL. LaBo facilitates educational group sessions, provides rapid HIV testing and community outreach. LaBo previously worked for the Domestic Violence Intervention Center as a TeenPEACE Court Program Coordinator. LaBo earned his Bachelor of Science degree in recording industry management from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

About Centerstone

Centerstone, a not-for-profit organization, is the nation’s largest provider of community-based behavioral healthcare. With a history that spans over fifty years, Centerstone provides a full range of behavioral health and related educational services to more than 64,000 individuals of all ages and their families annually. Children, adolescents, adults, seniors, and families all receive help from a multitude of different programs in more than 120 facilities and 150 partnership locations in Indiana and Tennessee. Centerstone is accredited by The Joint Commission in Indiana and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in Tennessee. For more information about Centerstone, please call toll free at 888-291-4357.

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