Sadly, youth today are losing hope at an astonishing rate, and the results are tragic.  Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for students 10-19 years of age. These numbers are even worse after the Coronavirus this year. Thus, I decided to write a book to help America’s youth (ages 10-14)  maintain hope and build resiliency skills.  After much reflection, I decided to write an adventure novel with a resiliency framework that empowers students to persevere, maintain hope, solve problems, develop friendships, and most of all, never give up! Into the Vortex: A Tale of Resiliency will be published in July by River Grove Books, a division of the Greenleaf Book Club. We have already received incredible endorsements from some amazing people; see below.

Into The Vortex Book Cover


ENDORSEMENTS for Into The Vortex: A Tale of Resiliency

“Too many books written for young adults seem to deal in hopelessness, and so it is very refreshing to read a gripping and uplifting adventure about 12-year-old Kayden Barrett’s resilience in the face of adversity.  Author John Poidevant’s debut is sure to make him a must-read in middle schools everywhere. “

Danny Brassell, Best Selling Author and Internationally Acclaimed Motivational Speaker

“Over my four decades of navigating challenging whitewater rapids, including winning America’s first ever Olympic gold medal in whitewater slalom with my canoe partner, Scott Strausbaugh, I have frequently called “The River” my best life coach. In his new book, Into the Vortex, John wonderfully captures the spirit of the river as a teacher and guide in a way that will engage and inspire young people to work with challenge and fear in pursuit of a good life bound by nature, positive relationships, continual learning, and the power of resilience. “

Joe Jacobi, Olympic Gold Medalist and Paddler of the Century

Into the Vortex conveys a key message for today’s youth, “What is right with you is more important than anything that might be wrong.” The story is a message of hope. A message of resilience. A message that everyone needs to hear and believe.  The author understands resilience. He lived it. He passed it on to others, including me. That is a legacy of resilience worthy of this story. Let him pass it on to you.”

Karen Griffith, Ph.D., Author, School Counselor, and Mental Health Consultant

“Encapsulating the key components of social and emotional learning, Into the Vortex is a rapid-paced adventure that engrosses multi-aged readers from its inception. The protagonist’s journey toward healing touches on themes faced by so many youth today: fear, anxiety and depression, and the crucial relationship and resiliency skills that can make us stronger. Dr. Poidevant’s tale draws upon decades of experience in youth mental health, and his life lessons are practical, relatable, and filled with a message of unsinkable hope. A must-have for school counselors for book clubs or small group lessons!”

Susanna Brooks, MA, M.Ed., School Counselor for Cherokee County

“Into the Vortex is a gift— a riveting story full of truth, wisdom, and hope, offering the tools of resiliency to youth, parents, educators, and helping professionals in a COVID world.  It ought to be required reading for every student, to help them prepare for or recover from life’s challenges, and to encourage friends in need.”

Reverend Jonathan Hartzer, Anglican Priest and Pastoral Counselor

“Into the Vortex is an inspiring story of grit and resilience, one that will suck you in and keep you spiraling until the end. The strong underlying message of hope is timely in our world today, especially for our children.  The author also provides numerous learning activities at end of the book that allow teachers, counselors, students, and parents to gain a greater understanding of the importance of resiliency.  Into the Vortex is an ideal fit with social emotional learning and promotes self-awareness, building relationships, and responsible decision-making.”

Kim Hagood, Principal of Carmel Elementary Cherokee County Schools

“Into the Vortex is a fast paced read with a powerful message of inner resiliency that should be required reading for all children entering middle school. As a former middle and high school basketball coach I have seen firsthand the real challenges students face as they transition from grade to grade. Kayden Barrett’s story of mental toughness is inspiring, victorious and a must read for anyone facing adversity or loss in their life. Dr. Poidevant has simply and effectively mapped the course for rediscovering and rebuilding the resiliency that lies within every one of us.”

Bart Christian, Author and Nationally Recognized Education Speaker

“John Poidevant has taken his life’s work and created an inspiring novel designed to impart resiliency and strength in the worst of situations. Into the Vortex provides a strong message of hope, optimism, and redemption. It is a timely read and one that clearly conveys resiliency in action.”

Les Conley, Retired Principal, Coach, and Teacher

“Using his skill as a gifted writer Dr. Poidevant is able to envelop the reader in an adventure that both frightens and gives hope. In a time of great anxiety, he offers a sure path for the generations to come. His vast clinical experience has culminated in this great gift.”

Dr. Charles R. Cooley, M.D, Author and President of Kavik Publishing

“I lost my dad suddenly to cancer when I was 10 years old. About 8 months later, I was invited to read Into the Vortex with a group of my classmates and discuss the story with the author, Dr. Poidevant. Having been through the loss of a parent, like Kayden Barrett, I found many of the experiences in the book to be like mine. The story gave me hope that things will get better and that I have support systems I can count on at school and at home. It also made me realize that I am more resilient than I thought I was and that I will continue to get stronger.”

Emily Smith, Georgia Middle School Student - 11 years old
” Into the Vortex, conveys the point to not take life for granted.  The book is a great example for young people who have ever experienced a challenging life event.  For me, it was early in my life.  I have experienced some challenging health issues. Although my health issues and hospital stays were hard, my love, passion and drive for my sport continues. I have found that my perseverance through those health challenges have made me a better athlete, and hopefully set me up to deal with adversity into adulthood. I have enjoyed the opportunity to read this book.”
Anna Gresham, Georgia Middle School Student - 13 years old


Resilient Horizons offers resiliency training for your faculty and staff.

Take the steps necessary to re-energize the environment of your school, youth organization, or faith facility.


Participants receive an overview of key resiliency concepts with an emphasis on five core resiliency skills. These skills serve as a modern-day “tool kit” to equip teachers and students to adapt and roll with the changes of life.

Included are specific strategies to build connections in our challenging Covid 19 world. Participants will also explore the necessary behaviors, attitudes, goals, and sense of purpose necessary to build a more resilient future.


Resilient Horizons delivers informational and training programs that instill resiliency skills in youth. We tailor our programs for all ages to meet the needs of your organization, regardless of setting – this includes schools, faith facilities, and youth gathering spots.

We offer in-person or tele-presentations as needed. As part of our training programs, we provide suggested readings, instructional videos, and resiliency themed products.


Resilient Horizons offers two versions of our custom program: Resiliency Rocks!

Elementary School Program: targets students in grades 2-5 and uses developmentally appropriate media such as magic, music, storytelling, and puppetry to convey our five core resiliency skills.

Middle School Program: adapted to a more mature audience and includes the use of illusion, music, and real-world examples of resiliency to impart our message in an engaging format.


John Poidevant


John’s Bio

JoAnne Renfro Poidevant

Chief Executive Officer

Joanne’s Bio

Erica Renfro

Vice President

Erica’s Bio


Into the Vortex: A Tale of Resiliency
Now available on Amazon and at your local Barnes and Noble. Please email us for major discounts on bulk orders!

Purchase Educator’s Guide with Student Worksheets

This engaging adventure novel, written by Resilient Horizons President and Founder, is an exciting new option for students, teachers, parents, and mental health professionals looking for books that support social and emotional learning for today’s youth. This book includes extra features like the “Adventure Continues” section as a conversation starter tool for teachers, counselors, and parents.

Into the Vortex: A Tale of Resiliency  imparts a resiliency mindset to students in grades 6-9 via an adventure novel about a 12-year-old’s struggle for survival in an underwater cavern. This is the age when thoughts of self-harm can enter the minds of our youth. The story conveys “resiliency in action” as the characters learn to work together, make critical decisions, and manage limited resources as they strive to save Kayden’s life. The importance of hope, perseverance, and resiliency are emphasized as qualities youth can use as a hedge of protection in difficult situations.

Into The Vortex: A Tale of Resiliency | Dr. John Poidevant

Educator’s Guide – Into The Vortex(Word Version)

Educator’s Guide – Into The Vortex (Pro Copy with student worksheets)

The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversity into Action | Christian Moore

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption | Laura Hillenbrand

Resilience: Turning Your Setback into a Comeback | Kyle Wilson

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Inner Strength: 101 Empowering Stories of Resilience, Positive Thinking, and Overcoming Challenges | Amy Newmark

Dove | Robin L. Graham

WhyTry is a powerful curriculum for teaching resiliency skills to youth using pictures, media, music, journals, and more. Webinars, podcasts, and excellent training materials are available.


Resiliency in Action provides resources on books and pamphlets, a resiliency blog, training, articles, and free newsletters. A resiliency quiz is also available. Nan Henderson, M.S.W. president of Resiliency in Action and author of Resiliency in Action.


Search Institute provides excellent information related to how and what of helping youth and families succeed in today’s world. Numerous free downloads are available to help foster resiliency in youth.


The American Psychological Association provides a roadmap for adapting to life-changing situations and emerging even stronger than before.


Bounce Back, A Game That Teaches Resiliency Skills

Bounce Back

Talking, Feeling, and Doing Game plus the Stop, Relax, and Think Board Game. Two of the most popular games to teach resiliency and self-regulation. Children ages 6-12.

The Talking, Feeling, Doing & Stop, Relax, Think Game Bundle

Through our website you are able to link to other websites – each website is independently operated and is responsible for the information contained on their site. Resilient Horizons does not endorse everything contained on the individual sites, but we hope the information will be useful.

Kay Warren provides a gold mine of free mental health resources that are well organized and very informative. Click here for free downloads on a variety of mental health subjects including ADHD, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Eating Disorders, and Substance Abuse.


Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues.


The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides information about a variety of mental health issues and how school psychologists can help students overcome these barriers to learning and achievement.


The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides a 6-hour online interactive course that puts the participant in the role of a provider in a post-disaster scene


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“When you bend in the wind but don’t break in the storm.”

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve really been planted.”

“Hope is a good thing.
Maybe the best of all things.”

The Shawshank Redemption
“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Once you choose HOPE, anything is possible!”

Christopher Reeve

Hold On Pain Ends

“The river moves, but it follows a path.
When it tires of one journey, it rubs through some rock to forge a new way.
Hard work, but that’s nature.”

Kekla Magaoon

“Hope is seeing light in spite of being surrounded by darkness.”

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life.”

J.K. Rowling
(author of Harry Potter)

“When life flips you over . . .
Roll with the Changes!”

John Poidevant
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up, the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Thomas Edison