Extraordinaire Ron Britton
It was an honor and a privilege to interview Ron Britton, our Family Youth Partner (FYP) of the month. His insights into the work we do, and why we do what we do will revive your spirit and have you ready to take action. Ron Britton has been a FYP for the last 8 ½ years. He started in Mental Health Services (MHS), where he worked for 3 years, and for the past 5 ½ years, he has been working at Harmonium, a non-profit organization that reaches more than 30,000 San Diegans each year through a wide variety of innovative and customized program services. This enables him to help Youth and Families within the community with a variety of needs, such as Individual Education Plans (IEP’s), 504s, behavioral problems, and socials issues. His demeanor and knowledge enables him to be welcomed into the consumer’s home to build on skills needed to be successful, as well as many other aspects of their life that need healing.
Ron states that one of his greatest accomplishments working with families is teaching them how to communicate effectively with Mental Health Services. One family in particular had a 6-year-old boy, who came from a family of gangbangers, and had a lot of triggers that would interfere with his daily living. Working with the child in social settings, such as a store, where the young boy would usually have tantrums, because he couldn’t get what he wanted, Ron was able to offer him structure and boundaries and his behavior began to change. With redirecting and negotiation skills, the young boy’s behavior became positively enhanced, and although Ron was only able to work with him a short time, a difference was made because of the one-on-one attention the boy received.
All the good work of being a FYP comes with struggles as well. Ron states that one of his biggest struggles is the constant change within the system. There is always more paperwork, more rules, and less hands-on (working with the families). With all the micro-managing, it waters down the services Family Youth Partners are able to provide. The voice of the FYP gets lost, which is a shame, because it helps break the stigmas within Mental or Behavioral Health Services. Through the Family Youth Partner’s lived experience, the family gains access to community resources. In turn, that empowers their voice. They become motivated and begin to see their own potential. Ron believes that families often have the answers they need, and that they just need the confirmation. In turn, Ron states that he too gains a sense of accomplishment by helping others be the best they can be. By being an instrument of support through their disabilities, struggles, and negative images, he helps propel them to a place of confidence and success, and this gives him great joy!
His hope for the future within agencies who utilize FYPs is that they allow the FYP to “do what they do.” Ron says, “Let the FYP use their skills of engagement and trust them to do the job they were hired for. By allowing the FYP to use the skills they have learned through their lived experience, we help the families we work with to be the experts of their own lives.” His hope for future is that we will have state certification that allows us to have room for growth within the field we “choose” to work in and that others will see the value of the work we do. Ron states, “Being a FYP has allowed me to grow as an individual in all areas of my humanity.”
Ron Britton is an accomplished author, with serval books in print filled with his words of compassion, heart, and meaning. His “passion” for writing fluently and effortlessly produces words that encourage, bring insight, and most often make you ponder.