||A personalized approach to a better future!
Our goal is to make a resident's life better. For many, this means getting a job or returning to college, moving into our supervised apartments and saying goodbye to us. We run a work program that provides meaningful activities and teaches life-skills and vocational skills. For others, this means coming to terms with having long-term mental illness and accepting this. In select cases, we offer lifetime contracts for care.
We believe firmly that a person with a psychiatric disorder can build a better life. To help each of our residents achieve this goal, we offer care based on three principles. We keep our size small – to just 11 male residents, so no one gets lost in the shuffle. Each resident is known as an individual and we can build on personal strengths. Staff and residents form relationships – real ones. And we can fine-tune our programs to each person’s needs and wishes.
We are a community, not an institution.
Each resident is surrounded by people who care, and who offer support and guidance... because making changes is scary. In our community, no one is isolated. Everyone is important. Each resident feels the satisfaction of contributing something to the whole. And each person’s actions affect others – an important daily lesson. Each resident is engaged in meaningful daily activity within a structure. We offer three work options. Once a resident picks – he is off! It's just like going to a job. After work, residents follow personal pursuits. Whether it’s piano practice, reading, writing, or studying for school, everyone is engaged in something. The fact that the TV is off from 9 am until 4 pm underscores our commitment to a purposeful, productive day.
Growth through daily work.
A resident chooses his morning work from four
options: (1) carpentry and construction projects;
(2) tending our vegetable and flower gardens,
greenhouse, berry patch, and animals; (3) cooking and
housekeeping; (4) "other". This can be looking for work, going to classes, needing time to study, etc. We offer a daily choice so each person
does something they like. Whichever they pick,
residents spend the day building skills — each
activity is the equivalent of vocational or academic training.
Daily work offers many other benefits. It puts
residents on a regular schedule day after day.
Residents feel tired at night, which reinforces the
pattern of nighttime sleep, daytime activity. We
work hard at establishing normal, healthy schedules
and lifestyle patterns. Feel-good endorphins rise with
activity, causing an all-natural upswing in mood.
People learn to stay focused on a task. To understand
and follow directions, ask questions, take the
initiative when appropriate, and to work with others.
Residents learn to conquer fears – to get up on that
ladder, to use that power saw, make a presentation in class. Then there is the feeling
of pride in what they have achieved at the end of each
day; pride that leads to greater self-esteem, which is
the foundation of their growth.
"I have tremendous respect for your agency, in particular the culture of respect for all that has been developed, the palpable sense of pride and ownership everyone contributes to which
makes it a wonderful place to be, the inclusion of
residents into the community, and the clear and
appropriate daily schedules for staff and residents.
It is one of the best examples of "therapeutic community" I have seen. You could teach
others and us about how you do this."
- Lillian Jackson, MSW, LICSW, MPA, Associate Professor of Social Work, Castleton State College