School’s out for the summer, but our school-based clinical team is using this time to engage local students in social, educational and team-building activities. Younger kids gather weekly on Mondays, while older youth meet on Thursdays for fun, interactive sessions designed to strengthen their voices and relationships. Students are given opportunities to make new friends and try new skills.
“Each week students experience new challenges for themselves as individuals and as a group,” said Abby Fischer, MSW, LISW-S, school-based therapist at Triway. “It’s a blessing to be able to witness them connect and support one another.”
Groups made up of 10-15 students work together under the guidance of six trained staff at the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio (CCHO) low-ropes course to tackle tasks of varying degrees of difficulty including balance beam, volleyball, frisbee, “alligator pit,” “jewel thief” and sensory exploration activities. Students agree that the balance beam is a favorite activity in its level of excitement and challenge. Their time together rounds out with a splash in the CCHO pool.
Group sessions are filled with encouraging words and teachable moments as well as a lot of laughter and connection. “Last year was our first year implementing structured group activities for students,” said Abby. “We knew we wanted to do groups again this year, but were unsure how social distancing protocols would impact the group structure. Having groups on the CCHO campus has allowed us the opportunity and space to make these groups successful. We are grateful to give students an opportunity to be in an open, safe space together to feel comfortable and courageous enough to try new things.”
Summer participants were identified by school staff earlier in the year based on emotional, behavioral and/or academic needs. Youth meet regularly with a clinical team member during the school year for a variety of supportive services including mental health therapy, service coordination, resource linkage, classroom support, skill building and social-emotional education. Continuing services over the summer gives youth more opportunities to practice what they are learning and develop new skills and friendships –- a great combination for success in the fall.
Encompass Christian Counseling, a ministry of CCHO, provides clinicians in four area school districts: Norwayne, Orrville, Smithville and Triway. These dedicated staff members serve kids in elementary, middle and high schools. The goal is to help youth better manage emotions, behaviors and academics at school and at home.