2021 Journeys Magazine

Community Support

We are grateful for the many individuals and organizations who support our mission.

Why We Give

By Harrison & Brennan Spry

How did you learn about Skyland Trail? 

We learned about Skyland Trail years ago when someone close to us was seeking help with mental health treatment. The facilities, the staff, the medical treatment, and the overall care Skyland Trail offers its clients are incredible. They help not only the clients manage and understand their diagnosis but also their loved ones. Skyland Trail has an incredibly positive impact on its clients and their families.

Why did you make a charitable gift to Skyland Trail?

We have seen how much Skyland Trail can help their clients, and the difference they can make in people’s lives. Skyland Trail is the gold standard for expert and effective mental health treatment for people from adolescence to adulthood.  The staff and the leadership team at Skyland Trail are uniquely qualified to help those in need.

Why should families include mental health organizations in their giving plans?

Mental health is one of the biggest unaddressed health issues in our society today. We as a society need to support state of the art treatment programs like Skyland Trail in order to continue to help the many people with mental health challenges.

Are there any specific moments that illustrate why you support Skyland Trail?

We came to observe one of the client graduation days, and we were moved to tears. It was such a tender-hearted and truly vulnerable human experience. Each graduating client spoke about his or her experience as Skyland Trail clients and shared hopes and dreams for their futures after treatment. They had real hope in their voices and saw purpose again - it was beautiful.

What do you hope Skyland Trail will accomplish over the next 10 years?

We hope Skyland Trail continues to expand their outreach and grows the number of clients they are able to help every year.  Mental health challenges for children and young adults continue to expand in our post-pandemic world.

Harrison and Brennan Spry
Harrison and Brennan Spry

Investing in the Future

Individuals who support Skyland Trail through a planned giving commitment become members of The Cypress Society. These legacy gifts ensure that Skyland Trail continues to meet the needs of future generations through state-of-the-art facilities and innovative, leading-edge treatment programs.

Since 2015, membership to The Cypress Society has grown by more than 125 percent, and we are grateful to the many friends and families who have made such generous contributions to strengthen our long-term financial sustainability.

In Memory: Annelly Deets

Annelly Deets, a grateful family member, passed away in June 2021 at the age of 84. At her passing, Skyland Trail received a generous planned gift. Over the years, Annelly was a strong presence on our campus, regularly attending our Family STEP program and community events. Through her wisdom, wit, and compassion, she touched the lives of many other families and staff members. We will greatly miss Annelly and take heart in the knowledge that, through her legacy gift, her spirit will continue to help future generations of clients and their families along their recovery journeys.

portrait of young woman with flowers
Annelly Deets

Employee Matching Gifts: Shayan Hussain and BlackRock

"Skyland Trail is transforming our understanding and treatment of mental health issues through a holistic model of helping clients with their mental and physical wellness and reinforcing the importance of building healthy relationships with loved ones. I feel fortunate that BlackRock supports my philanthropic passions by matching my donations, and thereby multiplying my impact."

Shayan Hussain, CFA
Skyland Trail Board Member
Managing Director, BlackRock

Shayan Hussain, Managing Director, BlackRock
Shayan Hussain, Managing Director, BlackRock

Charitable Events: Charity Clays Event

Atlanta Charity Clays Chair: Katherine Ohlhausen

"Mental health challenges come in many forms, and, all across my family, young and old, we have experienced anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Because my dad, Bennett Brown, and Mr. West, the founder of Skyland Trail, were family friends back in the day, I have always known about Skyland Trail. More recently, I became actively involved through an invitation from one of my childhood friends Charles Wellborn. Especially with the new adolescent program, Skyland Trail is the right fit with our family’s mission of supporting vulnerable youth. All programs at Skyland Trail are important, but the adolescent services are so so vital,  particularly in today’s world with so many young people struggling.

The beauty of chairing the Atlanta Charity Clays event is that the chairperson is able to designate a percentage of the funds raised from our tournament to their favorite nonprofit.  It’s a great incentive to chair an event, right? So, of course, Skyland Trail was on my list, and it was my way to double the impact of my family giving. And, even better, I had the honor of co-chairing the 2021 Atlanta Charity Clays event with my good friend John McColskey. Because we each believe so much in Skyland Trail, we teamed up, and both of us designated Skyland Trail to receive the funds raised.

The Atlanta Charity Clays community was amazing! On Tournament day, with all the crowd gathered around, we heard the amazing testimonial from Kelly, a Skyland Trail graduate. I was so grateful she told her story! Several people approached me afterward and said thank you for supporting Skyland Trail because they had some connection or involvement with the program through family or friends. That affirmed my decision. Wow! What a blessing it is to be a part of something bigger than yourself that has so much impact on people’s lives!"

Katherine Ohlhausen
Skyland Trail Advisory Board Member

family at Atlanta Charity Clays event
Katherine Ohlhausen and family at Atlanta Charity Clays event

Atlanta Charity Clays Chair: John McColskey

"I first learned about Skyland Trail from board members Jim Howard and Tom Bell. I felt a connection to the organization because my family, like many others, deals with clinical anxiety and depression.

As a co-chair of the Atlanta Charity Clays event, I felt confident allocating  proceeds from our event to Skyland Trail because of their great reputation and leadership. I and others with Atlanta Charity Clays were excited to support an organization that is changing young people's lives.

Mental health is such a pervasive issue in our society today, especially given the pandemic. It has become  prevalent among our youth and, frankly, that breaks my heart. It is important that we take the stigma away and give our youth the best opportunity for treatment and support."

John McColskey
Skyland Trail Advisory Board Member

Katherine Ohlhausen and John McColskey chair the Atlanta Chairty Clays event
Katherine Ohlhausen and John McColskey

In-Kind Giving: Susan Hannan and St. John United Methodist Church

"I am on the Advisory Board and Financial Aid Committee for Skyland Trail, and I was Missions Director for St. John United Methodist. Skyland Trail is such a great organization and is really filling a need in Atlanta in helping people get back on their feet and restoring them to their lives and their families. I saw that Skyland Trail needed some art supplies, musical instruments, and games to help in their music in art therapy classes and to enjoy their recreation time. I knew this was something that would appeal to the generous members of St. John. Everyone knows someone who has struggled with mental health, especially lately, and it felt great to do a little something to lift their spirits in a tough time. The St. John members bought games and supplies that were requested by the therapists and had them delivered. It was easy and rewarding for everyone!"

Susan Hannan
Skyland Trail Advisory Board Member
Missions Director, St. John United Methodist

monument sign for St. John United Methodist church in Atlanta

Skyland Trailblazers: New Group for Emerging Philanthropists

Q&A with Skyland Trailblazers Chair, Kwynn Everest, and Vice Chair, Alison Blue

How would you describe the mission of the Trailblazers?

Trailblazers aims to engage the city’s next generation of community leaders through curated social and educational events throughout the calendar year that advance Skyland Trail’s mission. Our efforts are aimed towards bringing awareness to Skyland Trail and normalizing the conversation around mental health at an earlier age in our community.

Skyland Trailblazers Chair, Kwynn Everest, and Vice Chair, Alison Blue
Skyland Trailblazers Chair, Kwynn Everest, and Vice Chair, Alison Blue

What has been your favorite activity?

We really enjoyed the moms and caregivers self-care event in September. One of our goals when launching Trailblazers was to hold more events throughout the year that appealed to different demographics and groups within the young professionals community. Gathering like-minded, busy moms and their toddlers to give everyone a fun and fulfilling activity was a great example of how we are living out the mission of Trailblazers.

How does participating in Trailblazers fit in with your family’s charitable giving?

We really like the structure of the Trailblazers group and how we collectively select an area of need or opportunity at Skyland Trail and direct the proceeds of our events to advance those efforts – this allows our families to see and feel the difference we are making.

We want to be closely connected to the causes we serve and with Trailblazers we can drive impact today while also shaping the way younger members of our community will engage with Skyland Trail in the years to come.

Is there an activity you are looking forward to?

Next year we’re planning a golf event in the early spring timeframe, which should be lots of fun. We want to make sure the sports lovers of the group are equally engaged, and between sports, drinks, good food and friends, we think the golf night out is something everyone will enjoy!

In addition to fun and networking, what do you hope people take away from a Trailblazers event?

We hope everyone walks away from our events feeling that they’ve learned something new about mental health. The more we talk about mental health the more we can destigmatize the conversation around it.

How does Trailblazers fit in to the larger Skyland Trail community?

The earlier we can engage people in the community the better and Trailblazers will be a great tool to connect with future leaders of our community and philanthropic efforts. We are excited for what the future holds for Trailblazers and the many touchpoints that this new program offers to reach new audiences.

Thank You to Our Event Sponsors

VIEW FULL SPONSOR LIST >>

DID YOU KNOW?  Skyland Trail has received 50 percent more financial aid applications in 2020 compared to the same time last year. Your support is critical to providing resources for families in need.