5 Questions for… Melissa Coultas at Child & Adolescent Behavioral
Melissa Coultas is Canton’s director of child and adolescent behavioral health advancement. She’s from Stark County. Most of her family still lives in the area, which is one of the reasons she returned here after living away for work.
“I am very pleased with the role C&A has played over the past 46 years in helping to bring hope and happiness to children and youth in Stark County,” Coultas said. “Society’s needs have changed so much for children since we started in 1976, and our goal is to create a way for children and teens in Stark County to receive the services they need to lead a healthy life. richer and more complete and keep our community strong and thriving.
Coultas and her husband, Chris, have a 16-year-old son, Lance, and a 6-year-old daughter, Lila Mae. She said they work hard to teach their children the traditions their parents taught them, such as making maple syrup, gardening, watching The Ohio State Buckeyes and giving back to the community.
She began her career in politics, working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, for Senator Mike DeWine. Later, she worked for GolinHarris (GH), a global PR agency.
“I was part of the agency’s four-person government relations (GR) team, specializing in lending for nonprofit and higher education clients. After a few years in GR, I became discovered a passion for marketing and began to devote more time to marketing and public affairs accounts, however, I never lost my passion for connecting people or helping them find resources to further their mission said Melissa.
Upon her return to Ohio, she worked for a lobbying compliance firm in Akron as a marketing manager. She also spent four successful years at Meals on Wheels of Stark & Wayne Counties (MOW) where she was Director of Community Engagement and Marketing.
Coultas graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in pre-law.
What is your role with child and adolescent behavioral health?
I have a dual role within Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health. As Director of Leadership Team Advancement, my role is primarily to develop meaningful relationships within the Stark County community to help support our goal of providing mental and behavioral health services to all child or young person who needs it.
Second, I strive to bring additional funds to the agency by diversifying our fundraising efforts through campaigns and events and identifying state, federal, and private grants that specifically align with our goals and bring these funds to Stark County to help improve our agency.
Would you describe your average working day?
We have many exciting initiatives underway, so my day can definitely be a whirlwind! We are experiencing significant increases in the need for services over the past four years.
I spend a lot of time working with our current donors for many of our major events, the biggest being our annual fundraiser, Let Your Light Shine.
I also spend a lot of time developing new relationships in the community. C&A’s reputation and impact throughout Stark County is spreading, and many doors are opening as the need for our services becomes known to a wider audience. We are very grateful that people see the positive work we do and want to engage with our agency.
I’m very lucky to be part of a fabulous leadership team with true forward-thinking leaders. We are friends and colleagues, and I can’t imagine a stronger team working harder for our children every day. I also have a great team working for me who are dedicated and mission driven.
Would you like to share your personal mission that led you to work with the organization?
I’ve been very involved with nonprofits since I moved here from Washington, DC, nine years ago; however, what particularly touched me in this role, it is simply the chance that it has to have such a big impact on the young people.
Seeking mental health services has often been stigmatized as only necessary in extreme situations; however, providing mental health services at a young age has a huge impact on our children now and throughout their lives. It helps them in all their relationships, with suicidal ideation, finding a job, the chance to go to college and even helps stop the cycle of poverty.
The impact on the community and the individual is enormous.
Additionally, both of my children have special medical needs and the first-hand experience of the amount of work and community support required to provide these two humans with the same opportunities as typical children drives me to do the same for others. children and young people in our community. It really takes a whole village, and we all can – and should – play a part.
What are some of your favorite activities outside of your job that help boost your mental and emotional health?
Self-care is vital for all of us, but so is finding the time. I admit that I sometimes have trouble finding time for myself; however, I like to read, paint and go for walks.
I also spend a lot of time with my extended family who live in the area. I grew up here in Stark County and am a proud graduate of Jackson High School. I have many close friendships dating back to my childhood. I look forward to meeting old friends and new friends.
Sometimes it can be as simple as spending time with my husband and two kids, chatting around the dinner table.
List your top three movies and why they are your favorites.
My 3 best films:
- “Little woman.” I am very close to my sisters. I cried through it all.
- “Harry Potter.” I like the idea that an outsider can change the system. Plus, who doesn’t love a little magic?
- “Father of the Bride.” Incredibly sincere and incredibly funny.
Editor’s Note: Five Questions With… is a Sunday feature that features a member of the Stark County community. If you would like to recommend someone to participate, email [email protected]