20 Dec A Little Renovation and a World of Change

We all understand that if a child is not feeling safe or cared for or if their basic needs are not being met, they cannot truly begin to develop and grow as a young person. As parents, we may take this for granted in our homes because we know that our kids feel safe. However, for YOC youth who have experienced extended periods of abuse and abandonment, seen significant abuse of substances, and witnessed a variety of violent situations; feeling safe does not come easily.

Over the course of our history, we have watched our youth exhibit emotional distress and behavioral challenges which impacted our ability to provide the most effective treatment services needed in the settings that were once used to treat less-severe behaviors. Through the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations, we have been afforded the opportunity to make structural changes in our treatment programs across campus. Some of the changes include building more secure storage cabinets, removing walls to allow for an open living space, installing new flooring and paint, personalizing bedrooms, and purchasing new furniture. Polly Craig, YOC Foundation Executive Director remarked, “We are so grateful for the generosity of this community and beyond to support our youth.”

Cottage Manager Amber Amerson noted, “The new environment of the cottage is safer, which allows the girls the ability to be open and susceptible to treatment. The physical renovations made the kids feel safe, the environmental changes help the kids to feel loved.

One program which presents with potentially the most obstacles is the Treatment for Adolescent in Secure Care (TASC) program. This program works with adolescents with the most severe mental health needs who demonstrate behaviors of the highest acuity. After 20 years, this program is being renovated. When the initial construction began, resident “Amy” wanted to talk with a supervisor about the plans for the program and had suggestions for the color scheme for her living area, including area rugs, pillows, etc. She has a lot of treatment needs however she is still a teenager who gets giggly over cute decorations, fluffy blankets, and pink colored walls.

Changing the color scheme in bedrooms, buying new bedding and blankets, and purchasing new furniture all help children feel cared for and loved. These very important changes help our staff transform the lives of youth.

This story is an excerpt, as it appears in the 2017 – 2018 Annual Report. To view the full report click here.