Mental Health Warrior: Cory Simmons

Cory Simmons supports Family Service as a Youth Development Specialist, contributing to Positive Action and the Teen Outreach Program (TOP®). Positive Action is an evidence-based program offered in elementary schools, while TOP® is an evidence-based program for middle and high school students. Both address self-esteem, effective communication, goal setting, healthy relationships, and substance use prevention.

As a facilitator, Cory fills several roles providing emotional, mental, and practical tools and skills to help youth lead a successful life no matter the hurdles that come their way. Cory helps mentor and model the skills they are teaching the youth. His role is to be there in their life and help inspire them to be the best version of themselves.

“We help teach kids in grades K-12 about positive lifestyle choices, and how to think positively,” Cory said, “With the teen groups we mentor them up and help them develop skills they can use to grow as adults.”

Currently, Cory is a senior at Radford University studying for his four-year degree in Social Work. He spent five years at 2-1-1 Virginia as a Community Resource Specialist. For the last two years, prior to his time at Family Service, Cory worked at Roanoke City Department of Social Services determining eligibility for SNAP and Medicaid and also at the Division of Child Support Enforcement ensuring timely payments to families. Cory also spends time each autumn as a football official for middle school, junior varsity and varsity high school.

Recently Family Service participated in the Children and Family 1-miler as a part of the Blue Ridge Marathon. Several of Cory’s middle school students attended the race.

“One of my students was incredibly energetic, and had a blast at the event,” Cory said, “The week following the event was during spring break and he reported being so inspired to be involved in the race that he started running each day, which previously he had not done.”

Cory’s favorite quote is the following: “We’re not defined by what we have done, but rather what we have overcome.”