Make SMART Choices

In the leadership and management classes Dr. Mahaney taught for the Depts. of Defense and Interior, she included a decision making model. Consistently, the leaders / managers in those classes said they wished they had learned the model early in their careers, so they could have avoided so many bad choices.

As her focus shifted to working with youth, Teri remembered those comments. She decided to make that decision making process available to youth – and wrote these books for them – in their language – about their issues.


Make SMART Choices with Tyler and Friends guides youth through a simple 5 step process for critical thinking and decision making. The process is fun to learn and easy to apply. The characters in the book work through real life problems, step by step, to positive solutions.

My Personal Workbook is a companion for the book. The SMART Choices team – Tyler, Maria, Ethan, Tomiko and Dakota – guides the reader through the 5 steps process – step-by-step- to solve one of their problems. The team presents information and activities that help readers go deeper into the process of making SMART Choices.



Praise from Students, Teachers, Parents & Librarians

This book was very inspirational for me. I loved how it was based on real teen times. And how they were put to the test to choose the right thing. I hope that more teenage girls read this book and I hope that they will love it as much as I did.

Lisa Valencia  7th grade, Hermanitas Program

Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. It should be used in classrooms.

Kristen Cohn, Valley Middle School Library

Every classroom should read this book and understand the importance of smart decision making. It is very interesting – fluent and precise – and describes how kids should plan their futures.

Wyatt Reyes, 9th grade

SMART CHOICES should be available to every middle school student. It is fun and light – with problems and vocabulary that are familiar to all youth. It would be a great resource for parents!.

Ro Watson, Middle School Teacher

Kids should read this book because it shows how to take responsibility.

Tyce Smallwood, 6th grade, Boys & Girls Club

Tasha really enjoyed working through SMART Choices. I will certainly use SMART Choices in the future and to assist others. Thank you, Teri, for writing it.

Karen Pritchett, Parent

Young people will read this book because it is about them. They can see themselves and relate to the dilemmas and predicaments Tyler and his friends work through. Thanks for teaching our kids to think and problem solve. Well-done Teri!

Candyce Spruel, Marriage and Family Therapist

I really liked this book because it’s fun, easy to read and educational. I wished I had known about SMART Choices when I was being bullied at school last year. It would have helped me to make better decisions. I chose to change schools to stop the bullying, but after I worked through SMART CHOICES, I would have chosen to stay and stand up for myself. I would have stopped the bullying and gained more self esteem. I’m now using SMART CHOICES to help me make choices on my career after high school.  Thank you for writing this book, I think it will help teenagers my age to look at and solve problems much better.

Tasha Arms, 9th Grade, DETOUR and FANCY programs for teen girls

I really liked your book. I think people will actually use the SMART process to solve their problems. It’s a great book and very useful.

Dulce Martinez, 7th grade, Hermanitas Program

I think other kids should read this because it could really help them with their problems.

Ariel Smallwood, 8th grade, Calavera Community Center