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The Camilla Foundation has successful first year supporting youth mental health

In its first year, The Camilla Foundation has successfully established relationships with the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County, Freedom Through Recovery, and Georgia Southern University. The foundation is facilitating much needed group and individual mental health sessions with these partners and the youth they serve.

May is national Mental Health Awareness Month, and one local organization is celebrating its first year of providing mental healthcare to the youth of Statesboro.

The Camilla Foundation was founded in 2022 to provide our local youth with ethical, effective mental healthcare and counseling at low or no cost to the individual.

In its first year, The Camilla Foundation has successfully established relationships with the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County, Freedom Through Recovery, and Georgia Southern University. The foundation is facilitating much needed group and individual mental health sessions with these partners and the youth they serve. 

Carrying on a local legacy

Local clinician April Miller organized a team to help implement the commitment that her mother-in-law, Diane Camilla Teel Miller (1948-2009), lived by as she served her community. 

Dr. Miller's life's work centered around creating healthy growth spaces for individuals and families, and The Camilla Foundation continues her mission by providing support services, educational groups, and other services both in an office environment as well as in after-school programs, summer camps, and on school campuses.

The Emotions Game at the Boys and Girls Club

“The mental health needs in our community are at an all-time high. We have seen increases nationwide in the numbers of people feeling significantly depressed, anxious, traumatized, engaging in substance use, considering suicide or self-harm, and completing suicide; these statistics are also true here in Bulloch County," April said in 2022. "This is a critical time in the life of our community - especially for our young people.”

Local partnerships flourishing

At the Boys and Girls Club, counselors from The Camilla Foundation provide social and emotional learning opportunities for all of the youth who attend the Club. Four days each week, these certified counselors use The Positive Action Curriculum to help youth improve their respect for themselves and others.

Lots of participants playing the Emotion Games at the BGC

“Through The Camilla Foundation, I work with children on their social and emotional learning. I strive to make talking about emotions fun, while also sharing the importance of mental health,” Counselor Kalie Chambless said. “With these discussions, I have been able to form unique, meaningful relationships with each child and have observed the positive impact of this work on their growth and well-being.”

"I am...kind, helpful..."

This program is funded through the Georgia Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. Impressively, The Camilla Foundation had served every single child at the Club within weeks of beginning the program there.

Parents are active contributors to their children’s participation in the program, sharing with counselors the goals they have for their kids. One example might be a desire for improved anger management. 

Board members Lisa Lee and Charlene Lamar serve breakfast at the BGC parent meeting

Teachers are also able to give feedback, and one teacher recently shared that a child who participated in The Camilla Foundation’s classes at the Club was reading more and even wanting to take Accelerated Reader (AR) tests. That same student was reported to have shown noticeable behavioral improvements over the course of the semester. 

Counselor Perris Oyagha speaks to parents at the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County

“The Camilla Foundation’s partnership with The Boys and Girls Club and Freedom Through Recovery has already touched so many lives within the last year,” Emma Dasher, counselor for The Camilla Foundation, said. “Being able to provide mental health services at these organizations has been both rewarding and enriching. I have loved to see the growth my clients have made, and it is all possible because of The Camilla Foundation!”

Through its partnership with Georgia Southern, the foundation has secured interns for the coming year, as well.

Counselor Emma Dasher at F1RST Friday

Fundraising underway to support the mission

To accomplish its mission, The Camilla Foundation relies on the support of the Statesboro community through various fundraising efforts. The foundation’s inaugural sporting clays tournament at Baygall in February of this year raised $19,000 for mission-centered work, and the board would like to thank Dwayne and Barbara Conner, who were instrumental in making the tournament happen.

Upcoming fundraising events will include an online auction in September and an estate sale at the Statesboro Family YMCA in November.

Winners at the inaugural sporting clays fundraiser

The foundation was also recently awarded a grant of $10,000 from the Hospital Authority of Bulloch County, which will allow the organization to continue its important work in our community.

Building relationships and trust in the community

“Over the past year, working with The Camilla Foundation as a counselor has been a joy,” Counselor Perris Oyagha shared. “I have had the ability to learn, grow, and build relationships with a community. While building trust, I have focused on the importance of mental health and well-being within our community.” 


Current Executive Board members include Joey Cowart, April Miller, Beth Boykin, Scott Marchbanks, Jessie Averitt Rushing, and Catherine Hendrix. The Board of Directors includes Kristie Crooms, Scott Hagan, Lisa Lee, Shannon Powell Hodges, Joy Graham Lanier, Catherine Tootle, Lauren Ross, Harley Strickland Smith, Donald Chavers Jr., Lisa Aaron, Dr. Scott Bohlke, Jennifer Bohlke, Renee Perry, Dorsey Baldwin, Laura Marsh, and Dr. Charlene Lamar. All of these individuals lend their time and individual expertise to ensure the success of the foundation and its mission.

The foundation will also soon announce the hire of its new executive director.

For more information about youth mental health, The Camilla Foundation, or how to donate, visit Information can also be found on Facebook at The Camilla Foundation.

For additional clinical information, please contact Clinical Committee Chair April Miller at [email protected]. For fundraising information, please contact Beth Williams Boykin or Scott Marchbanks at [email protected].