Youth & Family Peer Support Alliance (the Alliance) was established as a family-run organization in 2014 as a part of the sustainability plan for ACCESS Initiative of Champaign County.
Regina Crider, the founder and Executive Director of the Alliance worked as an advocate for youth and families for more than 13 years across various systems throughout Champaign County.
Learning to navigate the education and mental health systems for her daughter has made Regina passionate about equipping and empowering other parents to do the same for their own children. It is her belief that families can solve their own problems when they are given the appropriate support in order to do so. She continues to work diligently to promote children’s mental health awareness, family-driven, youth-guided and culturally competent services and support for families and youth through the Alliance’s presence throughout the state of Illinois.
Raising a child with serious behavioral health needs motivated Regina to commit to helping others with her own personal story, to train parents and service providers as well as to present at local and national conferences on a variety of topics pertaining children’s mental health.
Regina has been married to her husband Damon for 17 years and she has two children, DeAndre’ and DaYanna.
ULanda resides in the Champaign/Urbana area and is the proud mother and grandmother of three adult daughters and two grandchildren with whom she is very involved. ULanda loves working with people and providing support to other parents and to women by using her experiences to help others become more resilient and resourceful.
Although it can be challenging at times, ULanda loves the rewards of being a parent and has always been a strong advocate and supporter for her daughters. For example, when behavioral concerns arose for 2 of her daughters, ULanda learned to navigate the Juvenile Justice system. ULanda has been able to manage life, by trusting in God and seeking His advice in everything she does.
Alleya Douglas, an expert in Customer Service, is the Administrative Support and Intake/Case Manager for Youth and Family Peer Support Alliance. Alleya brings over 20 years of Customer Service experience to the Alliance. She is diligent in her duties and a great listener. Alleya has been with the Alliance since June 2014.
Micci is a wife and mother of seven children. Four of her children have been adopted from foster care and have various mental health and trauma issues. Micci has benefited from the Alliance, first, through receiving peer support and education in walking through many systems of care. She is happy to now be part of the Alliance team to share what she has learned with other families and to offer support.
DaYanna was born and raised in a small town in Illinois. She was diagnosed with Autism, Depression, Anxiety and a general mood disorder by the age of twelve. Growing up she was very quiet, shy and to herself. DaYanna is a high school graduate and plans to continue her education in whatever field God leads her. As she got older, she learned that her personal life experiences could help others see that their now isn’t their forever. DaYanna wants other people her age to know that even when life seems so low and seems like it will never get better; it will! At the age of twenty DaYanna knows that the world needs more youth voices on the topics of mental health, religion, social media, school, and just everyday life that young people go through. In her spare time, DaYanna loves to read, cook, sing, write, help others, spend time with special loved ones and have fun with kids.
Violet Wheat is a passionate educational advocate for parents and children living with mental illnesses. She and her husband Troy, and their two boys (aged 13 and seven) and two cats, Garfield and Prince live in Rantoul. Violet and Troy are active in NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, another great organization that provides support and tools for those impacted by mental illness. She and her husband are both diagnosed with mental Illnesses, as is their oldest son. Together, Violet and Troy teach a class called BASICS for parents with children under age 18 who suffer from a mental illness.
Violet and Troy have been married for 21 years. She was born and raised in northern Indiana and graduated from Richland Community College. In her free time, she enjoys family time with her family, swimming, spending time outdoors, scrapbooking, and playing games.
Anna has been involved with the mental health system as a parent for the last 7 years. She feels that her experience of having a child who has participated in inpatient psychiatric hospitalization as well as PHP and outpatient treatment helps her to relate to the parents of children that she serves. Anna has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders, a Master’s degree in Child and Family Studies, and has experience working in the school system for almost 15 years including 3 years in a therapeutic day school. She has worked at Dupage County Health Dept. for the last 2 ½ years as the family resource developer and the ICG coordinator.
Carlendia Newton was the Family Consumer Specialist for Region One of the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health Child and Adolescent Services. She has worked as a Family Resource Developer with System of Care Chicago. She has played an important role in helping to develop the Consumer and Family Handbook, as well as the recovery and Resilience Education for Consumers and Families events. Carlendia has worked with Chicago Public Schools and community organizations on behalf of youth and families. She considers her life experience as one of her most valuable assets. As she continues her journey working with youth and families, she now volunteers her life experiences as a mentor for the Better Boys Foundation. “I consider my lived experience one of the most rewarding phase of my life.”
Linda is a primary, secondary and tertiary mental health consumer. Linda has been in social services for most of her 30 year career most recently as a Regional Coordinator (retired) for the Community Residential Services Authority.