Helping kids hone their problem-solving skills

Deveron McCummings has been a Therapeutic Mentor (TM) with CHD’s Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) services for over three years, working with a range of kids between the ages of nine and sixteen to help them build skills in areas like interpersonal communication, problem solving and conflict resolution.

Deveron works within a team model alongside a clinician and case manager, both of whom work closely with the whole family while Deveron focuses on the unique needs of the young individual served. Within this role, Deveron is able to fully customize the sessions based on not only the needs of his mentees but also their interests. Mentees get to come up with ideas for the activities for their meetings, further strengthening their rapport in an environment that may be both comfortable and enjoyable.

“The big goal of our role is to build a trusting relationship with the person served and try to get some insight on what their individual needs are, or where they’re deficient,” Deveron explained. “It’s a unique position because you can take them out into public settings; you can come up with all different types of ideas to build a connection and build trust, which is the basis of any communication.”

Even in the planning aspect of his sessions, Deveron appreciates how there are always many possibilities to help boost the rapport. “You can use a myriad of different things to get and keep the young person’s attention,” he said. Deveron explained that if a mentee likes basketball, for instance, a TM can plan a trip to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield or shoot basketballs with them while they’re having a conversation. They could also introduce the mentee to some high school basketball players who are doing well and keeping their grades up, and who could serve as role models.

“The most rewarding aspect of this job is when I get an unscheduled call from one of my clients and they’re excited about having some type of success that day or that week. That just gives me goosebumps every time it happens—knowing they got home and told their parent or guardian, ‘I want to call Mr. Deveron, I have to tell him something.’ That right there is the payoff.”

Deveron McCummings - Therapeutic Mentor

“Fortunately Deveron was the mentor we ended up with, because he’s been great. My son has been with Deveron for a while now, and it was the best thing we could have done,”

- Laura & Raymond