Category: Well Being

Rethinking Food Deserts

Written for Community Hands Inc. by Matthew Shanklin (Knoxville Parent) and Ashley Wolf (The Current Sauce News)

Untitled-11Fresh produce is awesome. Most anyone who’s eaten a salad of fresh red kale with cranberries and sweet vinaigrette knows that you can’t beat a meal made with fresh, quality ingredients.

Unfortunately, more than 2.3 million families may not have the pleasure of eating a delicious kale salad because they live in food deserts, poverty-stricken areas where families do not live within a mile of a grocery store and do not have access to a vehicle. Parents in these areas often resort to taking their kids to any of the multiple fast food restaurants in town or buying their food from corner stores. Read more →

Adopt A Life, Save A Life

By Jeff Ashin, CEO, Young-Williams Animal Center. Photo by: Young-Williams Animal Center



Are you or your child thinking of adding a furry friend to the household? Please consider adopting from Young-Williams Animal Center.

We have hundreds of healthy, happy pet options for your family to take home and love. In 2015 alone, 5,524 animals from our shelter went to forever homes. Read more →

The Best Things In Life Are Free

By Jeff Ashin, CEO, Young-Williams Animal Center. Photo by: Young-Williams Animal Center


Interested in making a change in your community? One of the best places to volunteer may be right near you– an animal shelter. There are numerous ways that your kids can help homeless pets at Young-Williams Animal Center. Volunteering is a wonderful way to learn, have fun and give back to your community. At YWAC, you must be 16 years or older to work with or around animals on-site, but there are many other means of actively getting involved. Read more →

Adoption Ambassadors: Teaching Children Life Skills

By Jeff Ashin, CEO, Young-Williams Animal Center. Photo by: Young-Williams Animal Center



It’s a question many parents face – whether or not to get a pet. Before you decide against it, realize there is a happy medium. Children of any age can help homeless pets in a Young-Williams’ Animal Center program that teaches selflessness and empathy. Your child also will learn how to make a difference for a nonprofit organization.

Adoption Ambassadors is a shelter program that is similar to foster care but goes a step further. Read more →

Coping With Negative Emotions

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


A few weeks ago I received a lengthy text message from my son. He was feeling upset about something that happened at school and decided to write about the experience to see if he could determine why he felt bad. He added, “I’ll let you read this and we can talk tonight after I finish my homework.” Right away, I noticed that by writing about and wanting to talk about his negative feelings, my son, at age 16, had discovered an approach to dealing with emotions that I did not learn until I was a doctoral student in a Counseling Psychology program. In this article, I will elaborate upon the three-step approach demonstrated by my son for effectively coping with and working through distressing emotions. Read more →

The Creature Within

By Vincent Amico, Owner of Mickey’s Travel

Untitled-44The creature is there inside each and every one of you. It is lurking, watching, waiting for the perfect moment to rear its ugly head. The creature takes normal loving parents and turns us into creatures that must get every second that is available for every penny we spent on a Disney vacation. Read more →

An Important Discussion About Suicide

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


On November 5th, I attended the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee’s 18th Annual Fall Psychiatric Symposium. This Symposium is a continuing education event for mental health practitioners in every discipline. The Symposium’s opening session was titled “On the Road to Zero Suicide”. The presenter, Kelly Posner, Ph.D., is the founder of the Center for Suicide Risk Assessment at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute. As a mental health professional called to assess for suicide risk frequently, I was very interested in what Dr. Posner had to say. Read more →

The Value Of Serving Others

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


The theme for this month’s edition of Knoxville Parent is “Educating the Whole Child.” Since most parents would like to raise children who are caring and helpful towards the needy, the focus of this article is teaching children to volunteer their time and talent and instilling in them a lifelong desire to help others. I will describe how a group of seventh grade boys is making a difference in our community and learning about the joys of serving others in the process.  Read more →

My Meditation Journey

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


Each February for the past nine years, I have attended an annual 3-day meditation retreat with a group of Knoxville friends held at St. Mary’s Sewanee Center. Most of the retreat, including meals, is held in silence, and twice daily we meditate as a group. Many of my retreat friends have a regular meditation practice and have spoken compellingly of the benefits of daily meditation. Each time I returned from the retreat I would think about starting to meditate on a regular basis but never did. I simply could not figure out how to fit it in to my busy schedule. Read more →

An Inside Look At Inside Out

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


Over the July 4th weekend my family and I saw the new Pixar movie Inside Out. Everyone from my 12-year-old son to my 72-year-old mother thought it was terrific. The movie shows the inner workings of the mind of Riley, an 11-year-old girl who moves with her parents from Minnesota to San Francisco, as she leaves behind friends she has known all her life. Inside Riley’s mind there are five “characters”, each representing a different emotion—Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness. These characters reside in “headquarters” in Riley’s brain and take turns operating a control console in response to events in Riley’s daily life. Read more →