• statistics

    2.8 million people between the ages of 12-17 have at least one major depressive episode

    2-15% of people who have major depression die by suicide

    25% of people between the ages of 13-18 experience an anxiety disorder

    6% of 13-18 year olds suffer from “severe” anxiety

    10% of people between the ages of 3-17 have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10 - 24

    Cutting and other self-harm begins between the ages of 12-15; girls are most likely to engage in self-harm than boys

  • We Want to Help OUR Youth

    A Friend of Mind (AFM) was created to help youth accept and manage their mental illness and eliminate mental health stigma. AFM’s Founder, Sherilyn Garner, was diagnosed with depression at the age of 15. During the last fourteen years, she struggled to cope with frequent moods of irritability, agitation, apathy, and hopelessness, until she started practicing yoga and seeing a therapist a few years ago. Immediately, she noticed a significant improvement in her mental well-being. Sherilyn’s purpose with creating the organization is to share a yoga curriculum that will combat stress, irritation, depression, anxiety, low self-worth, and poor concentration in youth. It is her wish that AFM will empower youth by providing emotional and educational support to improve their mental health, thereby also improving their quality of life for themselves and their contribution to society.
     

    A Friend of Mind:

    • Creates and produces teaching tools
    • Identifies organizations in need of yoga and manages the implementation of AFM programming
    • Funds research and study the effects of yoga on youth populations

    Mission

    The mission of A Friend of Mind is to provide youth with the tools to mitigate psychological stress using culturally-tailored and targeted mental health outreach programs, training, and advocacy.

    Vision

    To empower youth to address mental health challenges using healthy strategies such as mindfulness and yoga and to eliminate mental health stigma in youth.

  • board of directors

    Sherilyn Garner, MPH

    CEO & Founder

    Sherilyn has four years of nonprofit experience including program management. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology Comprehensive from the University of West Alabama in Livingston, AL and later received her Masters of Public Health in Health Care Organization and Policy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She is currently a 3rd year doctoral student in the Health Education and Health Promotion program at UAB. Her research interests include addressing mental health and sexual health disparities in minority populations. As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow 2018, Sherilyn developed and implemented (ongoing project) a mindfulness and yoga project to support inner city youth improve their mental health. Additionally, Sherilyn coordinates and assesses all Alabama Higher Education Suicide Prevention Program grant activities as a UAB Student Counseling Services Intern. She is also a Junior Board Member for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and UAB’s National Alumni Society, as well as an ally of Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resources Coalition. Sherilyn has one beautiful daughter, Ava, and they both enjoy yoga, traveling, cooking and baking, and going to the park.

    Justin McCroskey

    Chairman

    Justin is the Research Coordinator in the Exercise Neuroscience Research Lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received his Bachelors’ and Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from Auburn University. Since graduation, Justin has focused on increasing physical activity in persons with physical disabilities as a research assistant for RERC Rectech as well as an Exercise Physiologist in the Exercise and Sports Science Research Laboratory in the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative. Justin is also the Project Coordinator for Project BIPAMS which is focused on increasing physical activity and wellness in persons diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Justin is currently continuing his education by pursuing a Masters in Nutrition Sciences, Lifestyle Management & Disease Prevention. He has joined the AFM board to combine his interests of physical activity and nutrition to promote healthy behaviors among the youth in Birmingham. In his spare time, Justin enjoys touring the food of Birmingham, hiking with his dogs, and exercising.

    Terralance Thurman

    Vice Chairman

    Terralance De Shon Thurman is an Assistant Vice President and System Support Analyst with Wells Fargo. He is responsible for the management of enterprise-level computer systems supporting the Enterprise Information Technology Distributed Systems operations area within Wells Fargo.

    Shon received a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Huron University and a Computer Technician Diploma from Virginia College.

    Shon volunteers his time to several charitable organizations including Childcare Resources, Habitat for Humanity, Community Kitchens and the Birmingham Urban League.

    Shon is affiliated with several civic and professional organizations, including Virginia Trace Homeowners Association serving as President, Childcare Resources (Past Chairman 2017), The Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals (Past President 2014-15), Birmingham Change Fund and Leadership UAB Class 2010.

    Shon is a Chairman of the Birmingham Change Fund a giving circle of emerging African American leaders that pool their individual philanthropic gifts, professional talents and very limited time together for the purpose of making a bigger impact in the community.

    In his leisure time, he enjoys many recreational activities and sports. He is member of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, where he volunteers in various ministries.

    Kara Hofheins

    Treasurer

    Kara is a teacher at a local nonprofit early-learning center and lives in Birmingham with her partner and daughter. A UAB graduate with a bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology and a master’s degree in Human Rights, Kara applies her global knowledge to her work in community development. Kara is a lover of art, animals, nature, and children's books. Kara joined AFM because she is passionate about ensuring that the youngest members of our communities have access to resources that enable them to grow healthily and happily.

    JacQuan Winters

    Board Member

    JacQuan D. Winters is a native of Tuscaloosa, AL. JacQuan earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice from the University of West Alabama. JacQuan also earned his Master of Education in Student Affairs from the University of West Alabama. He is a passionate suicide prevention advocate, youth empowerment coach, and transformational speaker. Following the suicide of his eleven-year-old sister Kristen, JacQuan sought a way to keep her memory alive and he founded the Kristen Amerson Youth Foundation, where he serves as the President. A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission of ensuring better lives for youth through suicide prevention and educational outreach. Through the death of his sister Kristen, JacQuan was able to find purpose in his pain and realized his passion to serve the younger generation. JacQuan remembers the struggles he endured as a child and desires to uplift youth by using his testimony as empowerment which is why he’s passionate about serving on the board of A Friend of Mind, Inc.

    Karin Korb

    Board Member

    Karin broke her back in a gymnastics vaulting accident and is most known for her wheelchair tennis accolades. She is a 2-time Paralympian and a 10-time member of the USA World Team. She was the first person with a disability to receive a Division 1 athletic scholarship to Georgia State University to play intercollegiate wheelchair tennis and has gone on to assist other universities in creating their own wheelchair tennis programs. She was named the USA’s Junior Wheelchair Tennis World Team Cup Coach and led the top American juniors into international competition, where they are currently ranked number ONE in the world! Her induction into the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame as its youngest inductee and only person with a disability, speaks to her unyielding commitment to foster and grow the sport of tennis to all those who wish to play. She also received the coveted “Gold Brick” in front of Arthur Ashe’s Stadium in Randy Snow’s Neighborhood. When asked about this honor she simply responded with: “Well, that brick is cute and everything and an amazing gift to my heart, however, it reminds me to continue building the legacy that the infamous Randy Snow started and that requires a whole lot of love for tennis, sport and humanity.”

     

    She served on the coveted U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Paralympics Athletes Advisory Council for eight years representing seven sports which included Tennis, Table Tennis, Shooting, Archery, Equestrian, Powerlifting and Canoe/Kayak. She currently serves on the City of Birmingham’s Social Justice Committee as well as the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program’s PADD (Protection and Advocacy of Persons with Developmental Disabilities) Advisory Council. She is deeply passionate about inclusion of persons with disabilities at every level of sport and life. Her career in both advocacy and policy has spanned over two decades. She has worked with Lakeshore Foundation’s Lima Fox Trot Military program since its inception and is presently their Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator. In this capacity she leads the Lakeshore Foundation’s Leadership and Mentorship Program, the Women and Girls with Disability Summit, the Durable Medical Equipment research initiative and is the coordinator for the Global Sports Mentorship Program collaborative with the University of Tennessee’s Department

    of Sport, Peace and Society and the U.S. State Department to name a few. Her love of humanity is often times referred to as “contagious” and her infectious enthusiasm for sport and a dignified life experience will leave you wondering: “What can I play and how can I be involved”. Korb refers to herself as a simple vehicle for service to and for others; “everything beyond that is a bonus.”

    Karin holds an undergraduate degree in Public Administration from Kean University and a Masters of Sports Management from Georgia State University. She is a certified life coach with the International Coaches Federation and brings a highly diverse level of experience having worked with local, national and international clients of varying organizations to create ongoing opportunities for sports integration. Most recently, her efforts in sports diplomacy with the U.S. State Department and the International Tennis Federation Development Fund have taken her to Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Colombia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. If she is not working on a grant submission or immersed in programming you will find her meditating at the Shambhala Center where she is always focused on deepening her practice. You can often hear her saying: “Listen people, we must also do the bicep curls for our minds!” She is currently working on her MBSR certification (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and strongly supports integrative medicine, palliative and dignified end of life hospice care. She is a practitioner of many new thought spiritual practices which include, Pranic Healing, Eckankar, Religious Science and the Atlanta and Bradenton Dao Temples. She always has her eyes on the pulse of humanity and “how can we best represent the vision of inclusivity and most importantly, global respect.”

  • we strive for the best

    GOALS

    • Decrease youth depression and anxiety
    • Increase prosocial behavior in youth
    • Promote and enhance self-awareness in youth
    • Link at-risk youth to appropriate mental health services
    • Create a safe-haven for susceptible youth
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  • Programs

    QPR

    Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) is an interactive program that empowers individuals and communities to effectively intervene on behalf of suicidal and in-crisis people. Trainings are two hours and are offered at individual, organizational, and professional levels. Gatekeepers’ certificates will be provided to all participants who complete training. Find more information on QPR here https://qprinstitute.com/. or to host a QPR Training click here

    PLY2

    PLY2 is an acronym for Peace. Love. Youth. (in) Yoga. PLY2 classes are offered in four, six, or eight week sessions. Each class will last for an hour and will introduce patrons to basic mindfulness and yoga techniques. The goal of each class is to increase self-awareness and foster courage, discipline, and respect for self and the community. To host a PLY2 program click here

    MIND SET GO

    This mentoring program creates sustainable and supportive mentor relationships for children in need ages 8-21. It matches youth with inspirational adult mentors who can guide them in developing better self-esteem, creating healthy relationships, and making positive life choices.​

     

    To become a Mentor click here

    To become a Mentee click here

    To have the program come to you click here

  • The Team

    Sherilyn Garner is a Yoga Fit and Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) Instructor. She will lead all Peace. Love. Youth. (in) Yoga. (PLY2) and Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) classes. She has over two years of experience teaching yoga to vulnerable populations. Her passion is addressing mental health stigma and improving prosocial behavior in youth. Sherilyn is also trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid.

  • get involved

    Donate Money

    A Friend of Mind (AFM) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax deductible. Please donate here or complete a contact us form to learn more about contributing to AFM.

    Volunteer

    A Friend of Mind welcomes volunteers. We are excited at the opportunity of having you on board and hope to see you soon. For more information about volunteer opportunities, please contact us here.

    Partnership

    A Friend of Mind values community support and input. For more information about creating a partnership with AFM, please contact us here.

  • resources

    Mental Health Resources

     

    Active Minds: https://www.activeminds.org/

    Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resources Coalition: https://www.asparc.org/

    American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/

    Association of Black Psychologists: http://www.abpsi.org/

    Black Mental Health: http://blackmentalhealth.com/

    Black Youth Project: http://blackyouthproject.com/tag/mental-health/

    Centers for Disease Control – Children’s Mental Health: https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/index.html

    Centers for Disease Control – Mental Health Home Page: https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm

    Centers for Disease Control – Mental Health Quiz: https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/quiz/index.htm

    Half of Us: http://www.halfofus.com/

    Mental Health America – Depression and Blacks: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-and-african-americans

    Minding Your Minds – Student Resources: http://mindingyourmind.org/resources/for-students/knowledge/

    National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Diverse-Communities/African-American-Mental-Health

    National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/index.shtml

    The JED Foundation: https://www.jedfoundation.org/

  • Contact us

    PO BOX 361612
    HOOVER, AL 35236
    Office: 1-205-499-2796