New Hope Running Programs
Our GOT (Girls on Track) and BOYS (Building on Youth Success) groups have another successful event to brag about.
The program designed to be 12-week program, but because we’re a PRTF, and some youth are staying shorter lengths of time, we shortened this challenge to a 6-week program. We want to make sure that everyone gets the glory of the big finish after putting in so much hard work. We started training on March 21st and ended April 29th. Our girls did their event on May 11th and our boys had theirs on May 18th.
We are still dealing with COVID 19 restrictions, so for PRTFs that includes some unique barriers. But we are happy to say that everyone who met criteria was able to participate.
On May 25th we held our banquet. This is quite an accomplishment for our youth because everyone who attends banquet was required to attend almost all of their groups, walk/run non-stop the day of the run, have an average score that reflects participation, and not be on protocols that prohibit participation. That’s a lot to ask of youth who have dysregulation issues, and need to be in a congregate care setting like ours at New Hope.
Because it’s such an accomplishment the Recreation Department at New Hope goes above and beyond to recognize their hard work, and to make sure they feel accomplished and well cared for.
This year at the banquet we served a meal of chicken tenders, mac and cheese and lemonade from Chick-fil-A. We added some cupcakes to this menu and I doubt anyone was complaining about that meal.
Everyone received a participation certificate, a t-shirt and a wrist band. The shirts for the boys said BOYS and the ones for the girls said GOT from their respective team names. They also received a gift bag that contained a Gatorade, some chocolate, a popcorn or cookie snack, gumbo sour patch candy and a protein bar.
During the banquet the Recreation Department acknowledged 6 outstanding residents from each program. Some of those included gifts like an MP3 player, Nike socks, an Adidas hat, Dove body wash and water bottles. Awards were given for the resident who went above and beyond. This doesn’t necessarily go to the most accomplished youth, but instead, may be awarded to the youth who was recognized for the most growth and effort throughout the program. Here’s an inserting tidbit: An award was given to the youth who collected the most “red sticks”. With each lap you finish, you get to pull a stick, so often the winner is the youth who does the most laps. However, some sticks are marked red and some are not. So, there’s an incentive to get as many sticks as you can just in case you pull a non-red stick.
And of course, there’s a success story we’d like to share. We have a female on our Safe Harbor unit that really struggles with self-harming issues and staying safe. She really wanted to be part of this event, but on the day of the run, staff struggled with the decision to allow her to participate because of her safety. She was really struggling the night before the run. Our Recreation Therapist explained to our residential staff that RT should not be seen as “just fun”, and that there are real clinical benefits to engaging in RT. Our RT staff took full ownership of this young lady’s safety that day, and walked with her the entire time she participated. And guess what? She did an amazing job! Prior to the event she presented with poor body language, often times with poor posture with her hair hanging in her face. The day of the banquet you could see visual improvements because of her self-satisfaction. She held herself higher and her hair was out of her face. As our RT Director Dolly Williams said “It’s moments like this that keep me going. When I see the benefits of RT working in a child’s life it enforces everything I believe in.”
A HUGE shout out to the RT staff at New Hope and every other staff member who made this event possible. Not just on that day. But every day. Ultimately our job is to keep kids safe and help them learn new skills to be successful in their next journey. But if we can make them feel good about their accomplishments and see the good in themselves, it’s just a bonus day.