May 28, 2019 | Comments Off on Building a Bridge for Families and Children to Heal
Alexander Youth Network Supports Children & Families With The Beth Jones Family Cottages.
Alexander Youth Network encourages parents and family members to be committed and involved throughout the treatment process of their children while in our programs. We believe that in order to promote healing, our kids need the support of their entire family. We also recognize that in order to help children and families heal we must offer them a safe and welcoming environment to do so.
The Beth Jones Family Cottages, which opened last year, has been a vital part of recovery and rehabilitation, for children and their families. Offered through the full-time residential program, children and their families are able to stay in the cottages – free of charge and practice skills, coping mechanisms while engaging in family time. The new cottages were renovated and reopened in fall 2018 with a gift from Bill and Peggy Crowder, along with Tim Korona, to honor longtime volunteer Beth Jones.
Allowing families to stay on campus provides parents, siblings, and the child with comfort and much-needed quality time, but it also softens some of the transitions that may be hard for a child in treatment.
For one family, the cottages have been a life-changing resource, defining their experience at Alexander.
For the last six years Ami, and her grandson, Trev, have been living in an RV while Trev moved between treatment programs. Ami has been Trev’s legal guardian for 3 years and manages his mental and behavioral health needs. Over the years she has experienced personal challenges in addition to finding stability in a program to accommodate their non-traditional family and lifestyle. Alexander welcomed them to its agency and provided with a wealth of resources to help manage Trev’s care.
“They genuinely seem concerned for me and our family,” says Ami.
She mentioned that the biggest draw to Alexander is how the organization integrates the whole family into treatment. Since becoming Trev’s legal guardian, she noticed that there were challenges and that he was seriously struggling relating to other people. When Trev arrived in treatment, it was important for Ami to share his story about some of the trauma Trev experienced prior to living her. Additionally, it was important for Alexander to recognize some of the potential barriers they may face in regarding Trev’s treatment plan.
Since they were such a close pair the past five years, it was important to make sure that Ami was close to Charlotte to help with the transition into the residential program. Proximity also gives families a chance to attend Child Family Team meetings, visit for meals or other activities, and recognize the difference that structure activities, coping skills, and sometimes regimented medications can make in daily lives of children diagnosed with severe mental or behavioral challenges.
However, despite finding an RV Park close to campus Ami has encountered other barriers to visiting Trev during the months he has been at Alexander. Ami has a physical disability and needs a service animal with her at all times. She is not able to work and her fixed income coupled with the fluctuating costs of RV parks, gas/ travel expenses make it difficult for her to find long-term accommodations in Charlotte.
The family cottages have become her lifeline and she has been able to stay close to Trev and fully engage in his treatment.
The family cottage allowed Ami to visit Trev four weekends in the past five months and share special holidays like Christmas, his 7th birthday and Easter. Ami is able to bring her service dog and stay in the cottages for free with minimum additional expenses since Alexander has a cafeteria on campus that serves three meals a day and the cottages have a partial kitchen for use anytime.
Each family cottage also has two bedrooms, a living room, T.V., board games, and most importantly are located yards away from the behavioral residential cottages, where Trev stays while he is at Alexander. This gives Ami and Trev the opportunity to enjoy the quality time together while having access to therapists, counselors, and other staff on-site.
“He wants me to move into the cottages,” said Ami, “it is very homey and welcoming with warm colors. It adds to the experience of the reunion every time – knowing that the space is yours for the weekend and you don’t have to worry about costs.”
The family cottages have built a bridge for Ami allowing her to spend quality time with Trev without the added costs of lodging. At Alexander, our goal is to provide the best care for children and ultimately the best environment for them to heal.
To learn more about the Beth Jones Family Cottages and how you can support the programs of Alexander Youth Network, please contact the Alexander Children’s Foundation by phone (704.227.9133) or email.
Written by Emily Gordon.