Event Spotlight

Transform Westside Summit – March 2, 2018

Transform Westside Summit – March 2, 2018

Featured Presentation: Chris 180

Presented by: Kathy Colbenson, LMFT, President & CEO

About Chris 180: Chris180 was founded by the Junior League of Atlanta in 1981 as Georgia CHARLEE (Children Have All Rights –  Legal, Educational, Emotional) to provide a brighter future for children in the state foster care system who had mental health needs. In 1992, they adopted the name CHRIS representing their core values: Creativity, Honor, Respect, Integrity, and Safety. In 2016, CHRIS Kids became CHRIS 180 – representing their commitment to helping those they serve change directions and change their lives.

Chris 180 helps children, young adults, and families through mental health counseling at their CHRIS Counseling Center, group homes for abused and neglected children in foster care, adoption services, a community Clubhouse for 15-21 year olds, and a supportive housing program for single and parenting youth, ages 17-24, who are homeless or have aged out of the foster care system, and in home programs that strengthen families. Training is also provided for the broader community through the CHRIS Training Institute, with a focus on trauma informed care. Their holistic approach enables children, youth and families to change the direction of their lives and become self-sufficient, contributing adults despite challenging circumstances. Learn more

About Kathy Colbenson: Kathy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with 40 years of experience. She has been the Chief Executive Officer of CHRIS 180 since 1987. Under her leadership, CHRIS 180 has grown to include eight group homes, a permanent supportive housing program, a counseling center, a comprehensive community program designed to strengthen families, a clubhouse for teens/young adults, an adoption program, and a training institute – all of which focus on mental health, recovering from the impact of childhood trauma, and developing the skills needed for self-sufficiency.

Over the years Kathy has provided consistent leadership through innovation and initiatives that have resulted in outreach and help for underserved and invisible populations. New programs include the opening in January 2000 of the Southeast’s first program for homeless youth that targeted outreach to LGBTQ youth, new trauma-informed models for service delivery and adoption, and many other positive changes in services for children and families throughout the state.

In 2003, Kathy was humbled to receive the Dan Bradley Humanitarian Award from the Human Rights Campaign; in 2010 Kathy was recognized with the Evelyn Ullman Leadership Award; and in 2013, Kathy was honored to receive the 2013 Leadership Character Award. CHRIS 180 programs and services have been recognized for expertise and leadership in trauma-informed care and most recently, the CHRIS Counseling Center received the TeleHealth Facility of the Year from the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth, and our Keeping Families Together Program received the National Innovation and Excellence Program Award from the National Center for Excellence and Innovation. Additionally, CHRIS 180 is the two-time winner of the Managing for Excellence Award (1998 & 2011) from The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Kathy is married, has two daughters, two dogs, two cats and enjoys hiking, gardening, traveling, and photography.

About the Transform Westside Summit: Westside Future Fund’s Transform Westside Summit is held on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month and is free and open to the public. Our audience includes a diverse group stakeholders. Longtime neighborhood residents, community and faith leaders, heads of non-profits and corporate executives come together to share success stories and discuss challenges that currently affect our Westside neighborhoods.

Meetings begin promptly at 7:15 a.m. with morning devotion,* presented by a member of the historic Westside community, and complimentary breakfast, provided by Summit sponsor Chick-fil-A.

Many in our community are driven by their spiritual faith to participate in the Westside revitalization effort. The time at the beginning of our meetings is an opportunity to share various inspirational reflections. While the speakers may articulate their personal faith, it is meant to be inclusive, inspiring and meaningful. All are welcome.

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