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Family News | Harborcreek Youth Services

Welcome to the our Family News & Updates Page! This is a space where we'll make updates about friends and family members of Harborcreek Youth Services' residents, Treatment Foster Care Families, and Multisystemic Therapy teams with happenings around campus and in our HYS community. We have a variety of great events thoughout the year, and we hope this page will help you stay in touch with the amazing things your kids are doing through our programs. 

Putting Sanctuary Into Practice: Growth and Change

Posted on October 1st, 2018 at 12:16 PM
Putting Sanctuary Into Practice: Growth and Change

Our Commitment to Growth and Change

"For many whose fate has been to suffer trauma, imagining a future that is different from the past is often a seemingly impossible task.  How can these patients turn their perspectives around so their lives will feel less determined by the traumas of the past and may be inspired more by their as-yet-unrealized potential, their unknown and unknowable destiny?" 
- S. Naider (2006).  Between Fate and Destiny, p. 458.

All of the youth that we have encountered in the work that we choose to do here at Harborcreek have suffered from some sort of trauma.  Traumatized children often become paralyzed by their experiences and may continue to relive or repeat the past in ways that prevent healing or growth.  They have developed many unhealthy coping skills that have worked for them in the past and that they feel will help them in the future.  As a staff member at a Sanctuary agency, it is our job to evaluate those current behaviors while focusing on the future by setting achievable goals to help the youth break the dysfunctional patterns.

The Commitment to Growth and Change presents the challenge of helping the youth work through their loss and prepare for the future.  As staff members who work with traumatized youth we have to ask ourselves how do we fully honor the losses that our youth have experienced in the past, are experiencing in the present, and will likely experience in the future, while at the same time helping them heal and prepare for a better future.  It is often very difficult for our youth to see an immediate future, let alone what they want to be when they grow up, when they have dealt with severe trauma up until this point.

 In order for our youth to grow, they have to change.  We as staff members working with the youth have to create opportunities for them to change, and ultimately heal and grow.  Dr. James Anglin (2004) School of Child and Youth Care, University of Victoria, Canada, suggests some of the things that all staff can do: 

  • Listening and responding with respect to young people helps them to develop a sense of dignity, a sense of being valued as persons and a sense of self-worth.
  • Communicating a framework for understanding with young people helps them to develop a sense of meaning and a sense of the rationality within daily life.
  • Building rapport and relationships with young people helps them to develop a sense of belonging and connectedness with others.
  • Establishing structure, routine, and expectations with young people assists them to develop a sense of order and predictability in the world, as well as a sense of trust in the reliability of others.
  • Inspiring commitment in young people encourages them to develop a sense of value, loyalty, and continuity.
  • Offering young people emotional and developmental support helps them to develop a sense of caring and mastery.
  • Challenging the thinking and actions of young people helps them to develop a sense of potential and capability.
  • Sharing power and decision-making with young people encourages them to develop a sense of personal power and discernment.
  • Respecting the personal space and time of young people helps them to develop a sense of independence.
  • Discovering and uncovering the potential of young people helps them to develop a sense of hope and opportunity.
  • Providing resources to young people helps them to develop a sense of gratitude and generosity.

Breaking out of your comfort zone is the pathway to growth!

TRY IT: Here are a few ideas for encouraging Growth & Change at home, school, work, or in your community.

  • "Yay or Nay" Game: Encourage your child, family members, or team at work to share one good moment (yay!) and one not-so-great moment (nay), then ask how you can help or what they need to succeed. Getting in this habit will foster communication and rapport.
  • Pick one day of the week and write a dated note briefly describing an accomplishment at home, work, or school. Put it in a special jar or shoebox. On New Year's Eve (or anytime you need a reminder), look at the notes together and celebrate how far you've come!
  • With your team or with a child, take 3 index cards and write/draw a picture of who you are now, what you want to be like in one year, and what you want to be like in 10 years. You could include words, pictures, collage elements, etc. Place them somewhere you can see them all year and use them to talk about what your goals are in the future.