HUGS’ professionals provide mental and behavioral health counseling, recovery programs and support services to at-risk individuals and families seeking healthy, productive lifestyles. We typically serve those who do not have the financial means to obtain help elsewhere.
HUGS for Savannah…Help Change Lives
Heads-Up Guidance Services (HUGS) is a faith-based, non-profit organization, making both professional counseling & vocational guidance available and affordable to all who desire growth & independence. Andrea Mamalakis Epting, HUGS’ founder and Managing Director, explains that there are many wonderful organizations supplying food, clothing, and shelter to our at-risk population, but, without professional counseling services and job training skills, there is little hope that these citizens will become emotionally healthy, contributing members of society. HUGS’ programs are made possible by community donations and dedicated volunteers.
We strive to bridge the gap in social services by partnering with other organizations that do not have the means to offer a counseling component in their service plan. We are currently providing outreach counseling for partners such as Old Savannah City Mission, Austin House, Performance Initiatives, YouthBuild Savannah, e-CONNECT, and Family Promise. HUGS’ professional volunteers also teach two weekly Substance Education Classes at Savannah State University.
HUGS’ volunteers have been fundraising for 4 years to renovate a 4,000 square foot warehouse into a functional counseling facility. We are pleased to announce that our Grand Opening for HUGS’ Comprehensive Counseling Center was held on April 30, 2015, and we are now able to expand services.
HUGS’ Day Center houses rooms for counseling, recreational therapy, classrooms for daily living skills & vocational training, a computer lab, and a children’s play therapy center. Our Ready-2-Work program offers opportunities for participants to work on site in exchange for services (HUGS operates to give a “hand up,” not a “hand out.”) Our goal is to promote healthy, productive lifestyles, encourage independence and offer all citizens a chance to become contributing members of our community.
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT
Heads-Up Guidance Services is committed to providing exceptional services to the Chatham County’s underserved population without using taxpayer dollars (i.e. government funded programs such as Medicaid) as a funding source. HUGS can bridge the gap in services by providing the necessary clinical components lacking in other organizations serving our disadvantaged citizens – NOT at the expense of local taxpayers, but rather to the benefit of local employers and the Savannah community at large.
HUGS serves individuals who lack the necessary means to obtain professional services elsewhere – services that will enable them to become viable and productive community members. These individuals are typically without insurance and/or do not qualify for Medicaid. Our Counseling and Guidance components are essential for long-term success, and such clinical services, paired with vocational and life skills components, are the backbone of the HUGS Program.