History/WSCIâ€™s Origin by Jennie C. Trotter
When you center yourself and ask for the Creatorâ€™s guidance in all things, a way will be made.Â Thatâ€™s how the Wholistic Stress Control Institute, Inc. (WSCI) was born.Â In 1980, during the height of the Missing and Murdered Children and Youth Crisis, I prayed and asked God to show me how I could help.Â This led to me being one of 163 applicants for a position that would address the effects of The Missing and Murdered Children (MMCYC) at Gradyâ€™s Mental Health Center.Â After three interviews, I was chosen to be part of a mental health team.Â As a mental health consultant, I made presentations on the psychological effects the MMCYC had on children and youth to teachers to help them identify and refer children and youth who were in need of mental health services.Â But I was not satisfied with the work so I delved deeper to see what could be done earlier to teach children and youth about stress before it became a mental health problem.
I developed a stress management course for youth and implemented it at Georgia Spelman College summer programs. The evaluation and feedback from the youth and parents were very positive.Â I shared with a friend, Camilla Moore, my desire to implement the stress education program on a wider scale for children and youth.Â Her reply was to write a grant and she put in my hands a grant application book. I was a little intimidated since I had never written a grant before and neither English nor writing were my favorite subjects.Â But I was to learn that when you are on a mission to serve others the Creator puts everything in place for you to succeed. I just had to move my doubting and limited-thinking human self out of the way and trust that a way would be made.Â I learned that all things were in divine order for the birth andÂ the work of the Wholistic Stress Control Institute. Somewhere deep down inside of me, I felt that the spirits of children and youth from the MMCYC were on the sidelines cheering, encouraging and blessing the work of WSCI to be done here on earth.
I am so thankful I was obedient to spirit.Â I left my salaried job and I stepped out on faith to do the Creatorsâ€™ work by starting the Wholistic Stress Control Institute (WSCI).Â Many have come to help in this endeavor and some more special than others to me are: Jim Trotter, my husband of 34 years, who helped edit all my writings and helped when I was not there to raise the children, Louise Strozier from the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., who housed our programs before WSCI was incorporated, and Gloria S. Elder who joined me in 1987 as an assistant Project Director.Â She was to become my dearest friend, confidant and tower of strength over the years.Â She has been my light at the end of the tunnel when times were hard. As Walt (Gloriaâ€™s husband) calls us, â€śpeanut butter and jellyâ€ť - we go together.Â The dedicated Board members of WSCI have stayed the course and provided me guidance over the years.Â The present ones are Thomas A. Peters, Hattie Ruth Jones, Earl Davidson, Don Murph (Past President), Barbara Molette, Jennie Donaldson, and Jonathan Mason. Last but not least, special thanks to Maria Burrell, Office Manager, and the many staff and consultants who have used their expertise and talents through the years to take WSCIâ€™s wholistic messages to the community.
28 years later, WSCI is an African American, award winning, community based organization, with a staff of 22 that operates over 15 community programs, and a sales department, serving over 5000 people annually.
The birth of WSCI came about from Jennie Trotterâ€™s prayers to be of service during the 1980s Atlanta Missing and Murdered Childrenâ€™s Youth Crisis.Â WSCI was established to provide wholistic stress management services and training to children, youth and adults.Â As WSCI grew, it added community prevention programs in the areas of afterschool programs, wellness, substance abuse, violence, teen pregnancy and STD/HIV/AIDS prevention.
In 1984, WSCIâ€™s initial work began in a Fulton County Elementary School designated as having the highest poverty rate.Â With community input and support, WSCI designed an early prevention program called Project Stress Control which taught stress management skills to students, parents and teachers.Â Evaluation results showed a decrease in violence and an increase in coping skills and academic performance.Â The program received two Governorâ€™s Exemplary Prevention Awards in the areas of Mental Health and Juvenile Delinquency.
In 1986, WSCI received state funds through the assistance of State Representative Bob Holmes to provide wholistic stress management training services.Â These funds were used to conduct an intervention program at the Lorenzo Benn Youth Development Center for incarcerated youth.Â This program resulted in a significant increase in coping skills for stress and a reduction in violent behaviors among the youth. WSCI continues to receive state funding to provide stress management training statewide to youth and adults.
In 1987, theÂ Preschool Stress Relief Project (PSSRP) was co-developed by Jennie C. Trotter and Gloria S. Elder, Deputy Director and WSCIâ€™s first employee.Â In 2006, the PSSRP model program was featured in the book, â€śThe Educatorâ€™s Guide to Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement: Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroomâ€ť, by M. Elias and H. Arnold. The PSSRP curriculum has been successfullyÂ implemented in Head Start programs and other pre-school programsÂ around the U.S.
WSCI has received a number of national and local awards.Â Some of the most distinguished include: The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Exemplary Program Award (1990) for Preschool Stress Relief Project (PSSRP); the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Program (CHLP)Award for pioneering efforts in the areas of violence prevention for youth.
This year, WSCI is celebrating its 25th anniversary and WSCI presently operates 15 community prevention and intervention programs within metro Atlanta.Â WSCIâ€™s programs are supported by city, county, state, federal, private and foundation grants.Â WSCI provides training on its stress education and community prevention programs statewide, nationally and internationally.