Mental Health Warrior: Bryan Walke

Bryan supports Family Service as a Youth Development Specialist. He teaches both Positive Action (PA) and Teen Outreach Program (TOP), while also supporting Project AIM. The first two programs are geared towards all ages from 1st grade to 5th grade in PA to Middle School to High School in TOP. PA teaches children that their thoughts, action, and feelings about themselves are all connected to whether they are positive or negative. TOP focuses on helping teens actively seek and assist them to build their individual assets and competencies, life skills, healthy behaviors, and sense of purpose. Project AIM is a focused short-term group that helps teens understand and make decisions about their potential future professional lives.

As a facilitator, Bryan fills several roles for the children and teens. A facilitator provides emotional, mental, and, practical tools and skills to find the best way through their lives, find the best behavior that will lead them to live a successful life no matter the hurdles that come their way, create leadership and service opportunities that will allow them to directly help their community, and be a positive role model that they can look to for support and direction.

Originally from Franklin County, Bryan benefitted from participating in his church’s youth development programs, as they mirror the same emphases as Family Service’s programs; those of adult guidance and support, service learning, and helping youth determine for themselves their ethical values.

Bryan graduated from VCU with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, giving him the opportunity to try out city life. After his first year in college, Bryan left for a mission trip to serve in Madagascar, Antananarivo. Bryan lived and breathed among so many different cultures and mixes of cultures, and saw the world and the people in it on an expanded scale. “Their problems might have been colored with a different set of paints, but they still showed the same type of problems,” Bryan said, “They still showed the same type of joys and laughter, the same disappointments and sadness. “

People tied the world together, and to better understand the world Bryan needed to understand them.  “I needed to understand the core of who they are, what drives them, what motivates them, and leads them to make certain decisions over other ones,” Bryan said, “I felt a desire to help others understand these things about themselves and about others so that they could make the best decisions that would lead them to healthy and purposeful lives.”

He is still searching, and imagines he will always continue to search for more and better ways to help those around him to be better and live better. This search led Bryan to Family Service and is excited about the opportunity it is gives him to learn and affect the lives of the youth in the Roanoke Valley, his new home.

One of his favorite quotes comes from Bruce Lee: “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”