New staff member Alison Hayes Goolsby is following a family tradition in her association with Perry Wellness Center. Her parents, Rudy and Charlene Hayes, helped lay the groundwork for Stuart Perry’s decades as a mental health advocate and provider. Rudy accompanied Stuart on his Journey for Life (a 1,000-mile walk to advocate for medical depression screening) and later wrote the book of the same name. Rudy’s Happy Patch Market was named for the late Perry friend and mental health advocate. Charlene provides critical nursing services to peers at Perry Wellness Center.
“My mom and dad taught me the value of caring about others,” Alison explains. “My daddy and Stuart go back a long way with their walk. My mother works at Perry Wellness Center, and now I join her. Staff at the center must have a personal experience of dealing with substance abuse or other mental issues. Such an experience builds increased compassion for peers and others.”
Alison’s life path has reflected her commitment to helping others. A 1991 graduate of Americus High School and a 1996 graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University, she earned her degree in psychology, with a minor in sociology. She has worked in a variety of healthcare settings since then.
“I began at America’s Counseling day treatment for emotionally challenged kids,” she recalls. “I then worked at Phoebe-Putney Hospital in public relations and marketing. I also worked at Perfect Care [assisted living] in their activity department.”
During her career, Alison also devoted 15 years to a most important “helping profession”: being a fulltime, stay-at-home mom to her three children, Riley, now 17, Ansley, 15, and Sadie-Grace, 6.
Alison cites her awareness of mental health issues and her family background in the mental health friend as factors that influenced her educational and vocational choices and concludes, “I made the right choice, and I am happy to be with my mother at Perry Wellness Center. I still like to work with people in need of a better life and help them learn to handle things that might come their way.”
Alison, pictured above, is now researching information and requirements in order to become a Certified Peer Specialist and further continue her family’s legacy of giving back. Welcome to PWC, Alison! We know that both of your parents must be very proud.