top of page

Our Story 

Co-founders/Executive Directors of Stuck In  Middle

Teah & April understand firsthand the challenges families face, and they are willing to go above and beyond to provide assistance. 

Teah and April, a dedicated Daughter/Mother team, proudly serve as the Founders of Stuck In The Middle (SITM). Their personal experiences and deep understanding of the challenges faced by children navigating the complexities of divorce and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have inspired the creation of SITM. They recognize the detrimental effects of limited resources, societal stereotypes, and the emotional toll on families who often struggle to access the support they desperately need.

Motivated by their own story, Teah and April have developed educational programs such as "The MisEducation and Education in Mental Health" and various workshops to empower families with knowledge on emotional regulation, grief, co-parenting solutions, intergenerational traumas, and child development. By raising awareness in these crucial areas, parents gain a deeper understanding of the fragile nature of a child's age and mental development during a divorce or other adverse childhood experiences. They also emphasize the importance of parents addressing their own traumas, as it is integral to equipping their children with the tools needed for resilience and emotional well-being in adulthood. Through their collaborative efforts, they aim to forge a partnership with families, working together to prioritize the well-being of the children who find themselves caught in the middle. ​ ​

sitmhistory.jpg

Our History

Founded in Winslow, New Jersey, Stuck In The Middle (SITM) is a grassroot nonprofit corporation committed to enhancing, fortifying, and enhancing children's mental health by offering professional, educational, and comprehensive resources to families traversing the challenging territories of divorce, incarceration, or the loss of a parent. With an empathetic approach and a focus on nurturing resilience, the organization extends a helping hand to families in need, promoting emotional well-being and providing essential tools for navigating difficult life transitions.

 

The seeds of Stuck In The Middle (SITM) were sown by a mother-daughter team who recognized the urgent need to address the emotional and psychological impact that divorce, incarceration, and parental loss can have on children and their families.

Established in 2016, the organization emerged from the collective desire to alleviate the unique challenges faced by these young individuals and provide them with the support they deserve during tumultuous times.  In late 2018, SITM hosted its first workshop along with its first holiday toy drive. It was a meaningful start to its mission. Collaborating with a local therapist, social worker, and yoga instructor, SITM organized a small self-care workshop that was attended by about five families, totaling around fifteen people. Despite the modest outreach, what truly mattered that day were the smiles brought to the youth. In September 2019, SITM gained its tax-exempt status. 

Our Team

Co-Founder Teah Hughes

Teah Hughes
Co-Founder

Teah is the visionary behind Stuck In The Middle, is currently pursuing a dual degree in Psychology and African American Studies at Penn State University. Alongside her academic pursuits, Teah possesses innate artistic talent and harbors aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur. Her affinity for animals, a passion nurtured since childhood, is evident through her volunteer work at local animal shelters and her current role as a Veterinary Technician.  Teah's personal experiences during her own middle school years, marked by her parents' separation and acrimonious divorce, became the catalyst for her mission and vision for Stuck In The Middle. Despite facing emotional challenges during this period, Teah displayed remarkable resilience and maintained her status as an exemplary honor student and athlete throughout high school. Her dedication to service is evident in her involvement in various volunteer capacities. Recognizing her outstanding contributions, she was honored with the prestigious NAACP President's Youth Image Award. As Teah approached her senior year of high school, the foundation of Stuck In The Middle solidified as her personal mission. Her goal is to ensure that children facing circumstances similar to hers have access to the necessary resources and support systems that can minimize the mental trauma and grief resulting from their parents' separation or divorce. Teah's unwavering commitment to providing assistance early on in this challenging process exemplifies her dedication to improving the lives of children in similar situations. Through her academic pursuits, artistic endeavors, and compassionate nature, Teah Hughes embodies the spirit of resilience, empathy, and determination. Her visionary leadership and personal journey have paved the way for Stuck In The Middle to make a profound impact on the lives of children experiencing the effects of parental separation and divorce.

Co-Founder April Payne

April Payne 
Co-Founder &
Executive Director

April Payne (Hughes) holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Drexel University. Committed to continuous learning, she pursued her education and obtained an MBA and a Masters in Network Communications and Management. With an impressive career spanning over 28 years in the telecommunications industry, she has extensive experience in field operations and customer service. Driven by a passion for making a positive impact, April co-founded Stuck In The Middle alongside her daughter and currently serves as its dedicated Executive Director. Motivated by personal experiences, including her own divorce, she made a commitment to personal growth and helping others in their journeys. To that end, she obtained certifications as a QPR Gatekeeper and QPR Suicide Instructor, as well as a certification as a Breakthrough Parenting Instructor. While April proudly wears many hats in her professional life, she wholeheartedly acknowledges that her most purposeful and cherished role is that of a mother. Balancing her responsibilities, she embraces the importance of nurturing her children and prioritizing their well-being. Through her multifaceted endeavors, April exemplifies a commitment to personal growth, supporting others, and fulfilling the profound role of a loving and dedicated mom.

sitmsjohnson.webp

Shirley T. Johnson
Board Member

Shirley T. Johnson is a highly accomplished graphic designer with a wealth of experience spanning over 12 years. She holds a Graphic Design Certificate from Moore College of Art and Design, as well as a B.S. in Communications and Journalism from Indiana University of PA. Throughout her career, Ms. Johnson has excelled in various design disciplines, including publication design, logo creation, branding, and marketing collateral design. Ms. Johnson’s journey in graphic design began in September 2000 when she worked as a page designer for The Philadelphia Tribune. Her exceptional talent and dedication were recognized through numerous acknowledgments and awards for her page designs. In 2006, she took on a new role as an Assistant Art Director at CMA Publishing, further enhancing her skill set and expanding her professional horizons. Driven by her unwavering passion for art and her relentless pursuit of excellence, Ms. Johnson made the decision to establish Gray Eye Graphics as a full-time entrepreneurial venture in 2006. Since then, she has been the driving force behind the success of Gray Eye Graphics, providing clients with innovative and visually captivating design solutions. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Ms. Johnson also serves as the Board Secretary at Stuck In The Middle, utilizing her skills and expertise to support the organization’s mission of supporting children and families. Shirley T. Johnson’s impressive journey in the world of graphic design, coupled with her commitment to excellence and her passion for the arts, has established her as a highly respected and accomplished professional. Her artistic prowess and dedication to her craft continue to shape and inspire the world of design.

sitmaandrea.webp

Andrea Lynn Warthen-Flint
Board Member

Andrea Lynn Warthen-Flint, BSW, MSW, is a dedicated Medical Social Worker currently employed at Positive Impact Health Centers in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Andrea obtained her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from Temple University in 1990. She initially embarked on her career in various areas of child welfare before making the decision to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996. It was there that she pursued her Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from Clark Atlanta University, which she successfully completed in 1998. Throughout her career, Andrea has focused on child welfare, with her work extending beyond foster care and adoptions. She possesses a broad range of certifications, including Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting, IMPACT for foster and adoptive parents, Trauma Informed Care, and Motivational Interviewing. Additionally, she has received specialized training and certifications in Trauma-Focused Care, SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery), substance use/prevention screening, and play therapy for both children and adults. Andrea’s commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional endeavors. She volunteers with her local Girl Scouts troop and has actively served as a member of Principal Council and Parent and Teacher Associations. Notably, she is a longstanding member of the National Association of Black Social Workers, highlighting her dedication to supporting the well-being of the African American community. Andrea’s involvement with Stuck In The Middle is multifaceted, as she not only serves as a board member but also contributes her valuable expertise and experience to the organization. Her diverse skill set, extensive training, and genuine passion for improving the lives of children and families make her an invaluable asset to both Positive Impact Health Centers and Stuck In The Middle.

bottom of page