The Mason Haye Foundation – “Opening doors for youth, families, and communities”

Brentwood, TN (April 18, 2018)–What happens after adolescents leave residential behavioral health treatment? That was one of the first questions the founders of The Mason Haye Foundation (TMHF) asked when hashing out the details for a non-profit foundation to assist disadvantaged youth.  As veteran behavioral healthcare professionals, the group knew that quality residential treatment was available.  But, when adolescents spent months or even years in treatment, they were not always prepared for life outside of the treatment walls. 

TMHF came out of these discussions about offering life skill building and developing the resources needed to transition out of residential treatment, according to Fredericka Ford, one of the founders and the Executive Director of The Mason Haye Foundation.  “We need to give these young people something that they can take with them,” says Ford.  “Certification or exposure to a skill is imperative so that they can set career goals and seek employment.”

Corporate sponsors are being recruited to invest in residential facilities by developing vocational program such as woodshop and car mechanics.  Not only do these programs give the youth a skill, but they also give them a sense of pride and accomplishment for achieving a goal such as certification in a specialized area. 

Giving disadvantaged youth, their families, and communities a “hand up” through job training and readiness, academic reinforcement, improved life skills, community outreach, and support services is the mission of The Mason Haye Foundation.  Their vision is to establish a national network of systems and community partnerships that sustain the most effective programs for promoting positive youth development, community support, and strong families.

To help with transition planning, The Mason Haye Foundation collaborated with Meridian Behavioral Health Systems and VisiLead, a digital-based training program designed by Sanders Counseling Associates, LLC, to teach youth how to maximize their lives through therapeutic activities and group sessions.  The program teaches adolescents how to “Develop, Pursue, and Achieve” Vision for life and how to develop into leaders.  Willie S. Sanders, MS, NCC, LPC, is President and CEO of Sanders Counseling Associates LLC.  Sanders, Meridian, and The Mason Haye Foundation are working together to offer this program to engage, empower, and develop adolescents into leaders.  Recently, an on-site training was held at Williamston Youth Academy in South Carolina to incorporate this program. In total, nineteen staff members including the Executive Director and thirteen residents were impacted by this insightful leadership and vision training. The importance of connecting the mission and values statement specifically to work integrity, defining the culture, and thoroughly understanding how each employee specific job connects with the culture of the organization were reiterated in this session.

The family component of the mission of TMHF is also very important.  Connecting with the family, offering family sessions, and setting family treatment goals are imperative to the success of the transition.  TMHF programs teach life skills to the family as well because the parents do not always have these skills.  Parents learn how to keep their child on a plan and how to support them. 

The founders of TMHF not only have a rich background in healthcare, but they also have the passion and drive to make a difference in the lives of these individuals.

Wes Mason, the Chairman and founder of TMHF, has over 17 years of executive experience in behavioral health and is the founder and CEO of Meridian Behavioral Health. His motivation and inspiration for the creation of The Mason Foundation primarily comes from his late father who spent his career as a psychologist helping others. Mason’s father taught him three lessons to live by:

Human Responsibility – All individuals make mistakes and deserve a Second Chance. If you are in a position to help others it is your human responsibility to do so in a compassionate manner.

Positive Cultural Expectation – The expectation surrounding an individual can positively influence any individual in making positive choices. These expectations are inclusive of self, family, school/work, social environment, and community.

Strengths Based Approach – When dealing with family, children, colleagues, employees, or neighbors you utilize a strength- based approach that allows everyone to bring something “to the table.” When adhered to, this approach allows you to appreciate each and every perspective.

Jovan Haye, Chief Philanthropy Officer and founder, is a former NFL player and the author of “Bigger Than Me.”  The book details Haye’s struggle with dyslexia and how he overcame this obstacle to play football in the NFL.  Haye is responsible for the community and residential outreach support, connecting corporate partners for funding, and providing life skills training at residential facilities across the country.  His mantra is that he doesn’t want kids to be like him, but better than him. 

Ford has a vast background in behavioral healthcare with domestic and international companies in role such as CEO, COO, and Clinical Director.  As Executive Director of TMHF, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Foundation as well as funding, coordination of resources, and overall marketing development.

Incorporated in 2017, operations of TMHF really began in January 2018.  In this first year, Ford says they will conduct pre and post assessments of the programs to see how they are trending and how to incorporate them in future planning.  Follow up with this group is essential to evaluate and enhance the process and offer a support line after treatment.  Over the next five years, the goal of TMHF is to offer increased opportunity, increased potential, and increased excellence to disadvantaged youth.  With the enthusiasm and passion that are expressed at TMHF, they will truly be opening doors and changing lives. 

For more information on TMHF, please visit https://www.masonhayefoundation.org/ or call (615) 942-6646.