Bert Nash: Helping kids and helping families

Emily Farley News & Notes

When Rachel and Travis Bowlin’s youngest son, Gabe, was in kindergarten, they began to hear about problems at school.

“Gabe started struggling the second half of kindergarten,” Rachel said. “He was not doing well in school. Gabe is very intelligent, but he just couldn’t conform to the school atmosphere. He was really explosive. I was getting notes from school about his behavior. It was a struggle. That’s when we started looking for help.”

That’s when they started coming to the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

“Someone told us about the SED waiver. We thought Gabe would be a candidate for it,” Rachel said. “One thing led to another and he started getting services at Bert Nash. We also started family therapy. We started meeting with Elizabeth Day (Child and Family Services waiver facilitator team leader) and her team. They’ve been a really big help.”

The SED (Serious Emotional Disturbance) waiver is a federal program. Children who meet eligibility requirements receive a medical card and are eligible for physical and behavioral health services through community mental health centers. Gabe, who turned 8 in October, is in the second grade now and doing well.

“He loves his teacher and he enjoys school,” Rachel said.

When school is not in session during the summer months, Gabe, who has two older siblings and one younger sibling, has participated in the Bert Nash summer program.

“I’ve been so impressed with the summer program,” Rachel said. “The staff that has worked with Gabe has been fantastic. They are really good at being on Gabe’s level and bringing out the best in him. They have a great team.”

In fact, she said, Gabe is already looking forward to being part of the summer program again.

“He loves it,” Rachel said. “He definitely feels safe here at Bert Nash, and he is gaining tools to help him make better choices, which is great. I’ve never seen him happier.”