Family Involvement Is Key to Long-Term Success
The only way to move forward is as a team. Our counselors and staff will work with each family to help everyone stay informed, on the same page, and working toward the same goals. Weekly phone calls from our counselors will focus on what the student has achieved and what they need to work on and how that applies to his family. Mail, phone calls, even email and video conferencing, once earned, are all a part of the communication process and each presents opportunities for parents to both support and be supported by their son and the progress he has made. Family visits are an important part of the process as well, allowing families to come together and students to stretch their legs and work the tools they have learned. Each visit is an opportunity to measure progress and adjust the plan to fit with successes and challenges that may be experienced on a visit. With several opportunities for family visits each year, this is an key aspect of our program.
Each week, parents will have an update from their son’s counselor which will go over the current challenges and what strategies are in place to handle them. This is the time for parents to gain an understanding of what their son is experiencing and how they can support him in his work. Our counselors may also ask the family to take on specific assignments or tasks in order to strengthen their abilities to take this journey with their son. When needed, staff may communicate with parents in order to handle more time-sensitive matter with efficiency. And, of course, parents are always encouraged to communicate with us should they have any questions or concerns.
On a regular basis, there is a conference call with the parents, student, and counselor. This call is designed to make sure everyone is on the same page and sort out any issues as a team. These can be immensely helpful in bringing out feelings of resentment between individuals, encouraging honest actions and behaviors, and allowing all parties to refocus on the goals they have and how they can work together as a team to achieve them.
Major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, End of the school year) are the most common time to schedule family visits. These involve either the family coming out to spend some time with their son and experience some of the local activities, or the student traveling home to spend time with his family in more familiar surroundings. How much progress your son has made will be a key factor in determining the length and type of visit that will be most beneficial to him. There are also many other opportunities for families to get together throughout the school year. Whether that means a trip out to watch him playing football for the high school, or just to take advantage of a long weekend, these are all possibilities based on the students progress and counselor recommendations.
Each year, we invite all our families out to share Thanksgiving together with us. This is one of our longest held traditions and a favorite of our students and families. Each family is welcomed to attend and share their experience and thanks for the successes their son has had. We encourage all families to choose one portion on the Thanksgiving meal, a traditional dish or family favorite recipe. Sitting together in thanks and gratitude for the growth and progress all have experienced, this is one of our favorite events of the year.
At the end of the school year, we take time to say goodbye to our seniors and celebrate their academic success. Families of our students who are graduating high school are welcome come out for the week prior to the high school graduation ceremony. After the graduation ceremony, we all come together at Building Bridges for a barbecue and small presentation. The students involved are celebrating both their successful graduation from high school and their graduation from Building Bridges. It is an exciting time in their lives, one that may not have been in the picture or even possible without the hard work from them and their families.
Parent Conference Weekend
The highlight of our year. This is a four-day conference with all our families. Parents, siblings, and extended family are all invited to join us as we spend this time celebrating the successes of previous year, participating in workshops designed to educate and encourage. The first day, for families only, focuses on how to handle the challenges of a son in treatment and how to strengthen yourself so that you can help your son strengthen himself. On the second day, the students join us and over the next few days, we continue to talk about how to work together as a team through team activities and exercises. The power of shared commonalities helps each family understand that even with our differences, we all have a common goal. Family counseling sessions and academic planning sessions take place during these four days as well. After all is said and done, there is the opportunity for a visit.