About me...

doggedly determined. out of the box thinker. talker. solution oriented. organized. libra. loud. compassionate. honest . trustworthy. fierce.

Teri Cole-Smith, RISE Founder & Facilitator
I started RISE after lived experience supporting and learning from family and friends experiencing issues with trauma, addiction and mental health, as well as combating Dysthymic Depression myself. There was a time I didn't know if I would ever stop feeling angry and sad. After a lot of hard work and self-education, great friends and a great therapist, Vit D and the right meds I feel true joy again and I am happy to report that -today - for me it's possible.
RISE is my response to these issues, and I'm eager to both learn more from my community - especially the wisdom of those who have already survived a tough journey - and to share the knowledge & skills I have learned.
I BELIEVE in the power of personal choice and the possibility of change. I believe in the principles of Harm Reduction. I believe that moments of crisis often provide the greatest opportunity for positive change. I believe that life is complicated and that none of us is perfect. I also know that change of any kind is usually a very hard process, with ups and downs and lapses. It requires support, understanding, willingness to learn new things - and lots of patience.
I am NOT a therapist. Nor am I an expert. I am someone who believes there is always a solution (even if the solution is acceptance) and I am very good at finding paths to that solution.
I grew up in South Florida and graduated with Honors from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, before moving to the Midwest, where I earned a Master's degree in English at University of Chicago. I next studied for a Masters in Education before returning to the South, roughing it in the Arkansas Ozarks and living in Georgia before arriving "home" in Sylva, NC 10 years ago. (Still a newcomer - I respect that!)
Everything in my own journey of discovery has led me to today. Among many hats I have worn, I have been a unschooling mountain mama, a Special Education Teacher working with kids with Severe Emotional Behavioral Disorders, an Environmental Education Educator and Founder and Lead Facilitator of Freedom to Grow Unschool in Athens, GA. Currently, I am a Guardian Ad Litem in Jackson County, 30th district, and a licensed massage therapist.
I am married to a long-haired, avid motorcyclist (and have a motorcycle myself.) I have two wonderful grown sons with wonderful partners. I am also lucky enough to have possibly the smartest and most beautiful grandson in existence. (Don't challenge me on this, LOL) I love growing flowers, getting dirty, making things, animals, hiking, learning and occasionally getting a little wild. David Bowie said “Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” I couldn't agree more.
Current & Pertinent Certifications & Trainings:
• Registered Facilitator: Circle of Security® Parenting (COS-P)

• Registered Facilitator: SMART® Recovery Support, Family & Friends, Teens

• Registered Facilitator: "Building a Trauma Informed Resilient Focused Community" (Becky Haas training)

• Registered Facilitator for Prime For Life®

• Registered Facilitator: Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training (CRAFT)

• Recovery Coach Facilitator: (CCAR RECOVERY COACH ACADEMY©)

• Resilience Champion: Reconnect for Resilience™

• Training: NAMI Family to Family 12 week course (National Alliance for Mental Illness)

• Licensed Massage Therapist

Guardian Ad Litem (Jackson County, 30th District)

• Founder/Lead Facilitator Freedom to Grow Unschool alternative school Athens, GA

• Lead Educational Therapist for Students diagnosed with Severe Emotional & Behavioral Disorders (GA Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support)

LSCI – Life Space Crisis Intervention: August 22

• (former) Mindset Trainer: De-escalation and Physical Restraint Interventions for Behavioral Health Care Settings / DIDD Providers / Schools / Foster Care Providers