Monthly Archives: May 2011

Update 2

This past week was crazy. It was my first full week of work and I only had one full day of working solo.

Monday was pretty normal. No major problems from any of the boys, but I had quite a few with me on Work Detail. As always, none of them wanted to cooperate and do the work required, so it took all kinds of poking and prodding to get them to move along. In the end, they worked better and actually made great progress once they started working together.

Tuesday was more of the same. I am sorry, I am writing this 3 days after the fact, so I don’t really have any details about the day that stuck out. Oh! We got to sleep in until 9a.m. The supervisor saw that staff was getting really worn out, so he gave us a reprieve. He let everyone sleep in past 7a.m. which was supremely awesome. I also got my specific Case Load and began working with those guys. One of them has the looks of a leader. He is always willing to step in and requires less and less prodding from staff to not act up. I have high hopes for him and I will be continuing to push him in that direction. On the other hand, one of our senior guys is a pathetic example of leadership. I have tried talking to him and trying to encourage him to lead this group and he says he will, but he does nothing to actually lead. I try to explain to these guys that my job is not to do everything for them but to help them learn to help themselves. Those who are receptive to this message will do well, I think. Those who are not will probably fail.

Wednesday was pretty busy. I had more training and am no Crisis Prevention Institute certified. That means I am now allowed to interact with the guys without my shadow on me. We had to be trained because some of the kids can change in a heartbeat. This was shown with one boy in particular. Of course, I cannot use names, but one guy is very self-destructive and tried to hurt himself and had to be restrained until he calmed down. He was committed to a facility that could better handle his severe psychological issues. I hope he finds the help he needs. It was apparent that he was a huge part of the problems we have with everyone else though. The moment he was off site, we noticed a difference in behavior. He was no longer around to antagonize and that made everyone else rest a little easier. The rest of my shift was pretty laid back. I had some good conversation with my Work Detail guys and we spent some time answering questions and getting to know our boys. We had a sheet of questions for them to ask us and we will be asking them questions some time in the upcoming week.

Thursday morning was shift change, my favorite time of the week. I ended up coming straight home and crashing out. This job is thoroughly exhausting. We will see what next week brings.

 

PeACE

 

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Update 1

Update:

The first two days of my time at work was all about training. It was mostly boring after we got introduced to the staff. They hired three of us to fill our position. They just had a big change in staff, so they needed up ASAP. I have never had a job that was state licensed as tight as this place is. We spent at least seven hours reading, studying, and signing tons of paperwork regarding licensing, safety, procedures, etc. Those who know me know how much I -love- paperwork.

Anyway, we got to take a break from the paperwork later on that night and had some time to get to meet and greet with some of the guys. Most of them are pretty decent kids, but you can just tell they are all reading us, trying to find a weakness they can exploit, that kind of stuff. We were warned about that right from the beginning. It is really quick to pick up on the dynamic of the group. The guys are anything but shy, which leads to its own problems.

This center is run like a half-daycare/half-prison. The guys are kept on a very tight schedule and they handle all work at the facility. They have kitchen details, dorm and lodge details, grounds details, and special work details for guys that get too far out of line. They are on a level system; from Level 1 (starting) to Level 5 (graduating). The higher levels, regardless of age, are held accountable for leading the others. They are also responsible for supervising the newer members and are the only ones that have some flexibility in their daily routine. Lower levels are not allowed to go anywhere without direct supervision, but 3 and above are allowed to come and go as long as they have permission, are not on suspended privileges, and have a good reason for where they are going. EVERYONE has to ask the staff permission before they can enter/exit a room or building. They have to have permission to take a nap. They also do everything according to their level. The higher levels always eat, shower, and leave first. It is about reinforcing humility. It is also to encourage the lower levels to improve their situation.

This facility is also an accredited school, so the guys have the potential to complete all four years of high school while they are on site. Of course, they are encourage to not be there for four years. Progress is monitored and rewarded.

Two things that are very regular are what they call “Group” and “Process groups.”

Group is called by anyone in the program, staff included, when someone has a problem that needs  to be discussed immediately. For example, group was called a couple of times while I was there for guys who had problems with something that was said or done to them. It is a chance for them to air their feelings and is designed to cut out a lot of conflict, drama, and potential violence. It is always supervised and guided, or cut short, when needed. These guys are not stupid and it becomes evident that Group is sometimes used to get out of doing something else, i.e., K.P. or chores.

Focus Groups are led and scheduled by the staff. They are used to cover bigger, deeper issues in a smaller setting of 4-8 guys. This week, the guys discussed how they felt about two of their fellow residents recent attempted escape. They also discussed issues with the newer residents in the group and some of the more senior members tried to encourage the boys to stay strong and work hard.

Speaking of the two runners, I got placed to supervise their work detail for the two days I was on site. They were required to wear orange jumpsuits prison style, meaning boxers only underneath. They were under watch from senior residents 24/7 and were on full time work detail. I had them moving lumber, spreading rocks, and mowing among other tasks. All the boys have work days, but the Work Detail is specifically for punishment. Well, more encouragement to do better, but is understood as punishment.

I will add more as I think about it. I am debating starting a blog to keep notes on this, so if anyone knows of a good site to use, let me know.

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have

PeACE

My New Job

So…for those of you have been keeping up, I have not yet gotten an internship. That has been pretty stressful because I feel like I am just treading water in my current position as a Bouncer/DJ at a night club. The work is fun and all and the people are cool, but I am just not getting anywhere in life and feel like I am wasting my life away.

Anyway, that all changed on Friday. I was called on Thursday to interview at a facility in Northeast TX that works with teen boys struggling with substance abuse and behavioral problems. I interviewed on Friday morning for the position and it was officially extended to me this afternoon. So, I will begin training tomorrow at 9 a.m. and will be home sometime late Thursday night.

The job sounds fun, but I know the work will be tough at times. I appreciate all your prayers while I am doing this. I am so thankful to have a job like this where I can use my gifts and life experience to help others who are struggling.

For more information on the program, contact me. Trying to avoid and confidentiality issues that can come up.

For more information on how I am doing, check this not from time to time. I will try to update it as I go along for anyone bored enough to read along.

PeACE

Doug