Helping Teens Connect in a World of High Anxiety
By Stephen C. Schultz
This is just a quick note to provide an update on Discovery Academy and Connections. If you have explored my blog before, you are probably aware I am involved with a group of treatment programs for teenagers.
Please allow me to share a couple of experiences I had while at Discovery Academy. I was in Melanie Evans (Director of Admissions) office last week and she was preparing for a parent tour. She was identifying a student that would be able to assist her with the tour when she said;
“Shoot, Troy won’t be able to help us...he is at his internship at ADOBE”.
I thought to myself; “Wow! How cool is that!”
Later in the week I ran into a young lady enrolled in Discovery Academy who I had spoken with previously. I asked how she was doing and what she was up to. She mentioned that she was just returning from her job. I mentioned that was awesome and asked if she would share with me what she was doing. She said she was working at McDonalds on the morning shift. She gets up about 5:30 am each morning so she can be to work at 7:00am. She then comes back to campus and attends school in the afternoon. I asked how she gets there each morning and she said that she walks. What a great opportunity! I mentioned this conversation I had to Melanie and she shared with me some of the clinical issues this young lady had worked through. What an accomplishment! What determination! What resilience!
Discovery Academy is Transitional in nature with full therapeutic support. It is best suited for students, male and female, who have demonstrated treatment success in a previous setting like Wilderness Treatment or a Residential Treatment Center. However, these students still need some additional support while exploring and engaging in volunteer opportunities, internships and part time employment. Because of our location, our campus realistically becomes the entire local metropolitan area. Therapists regularly hold groups and activities in the city away from the actual Discovery Academy building. School and residential living for girls and boys are separated with joint clubs and activities only occurring when clinically indicated.
Connections specifically works with students who have struggled in previous placements. Connections also functions well as a step down from a more intense level of care such as a hospital setting or a more structured RTC.
Many students come to Connections having struggled in a larger milieu and they need a smaller community. Some may have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental concerns that have complicated their previous treatment progress. Most students are dealing with treatment fatigue of some kind and have moved from program to program before landing at Connections.
The goal is to connect with these students at a different level; to help them see “light at the end of the tunnel” through career exploration and internships in the community. All of this happens while still providing full therapeutic support. Connections can enroll both girls and boys and includes specific services for working with ASD.
Be sure to check out the Clinical Staff. This is one of the most seasoned clinical departments Discovery Academy/Connections have ever had.