The 62 year old KidsPeace Auxiliary held its annual holiday dinner on December 16 to celebrate another year of fundraising for the children of KidsPeace. The Auxiliary made a donation of $6,000, its final payment on the organization's pledge to support the building fund for the Broadway Campus in Bethlehem, PA. Construction is moving ahead quickly on a new building that will provide housing for children in residential treatment and rooms for outpatient counseling for children in KidsPeace Community-Based Programs. The project also includes renovation of several buildings on the campus and improvement to traffic patterns that will ensure safety of all who visit the campus.
The 60 Auxiliary members and KidsPeace associates who attended the dinner were treated to holiday songs by several of the KidsPeace children. Auxiliary members presented each child with a holiday gift and were very touched by the gratitude expressed by the children. The Auxiliary has been supporting KidsPeace with its generous donations these many years and always provides holiday and birthday gifts for the children in residential treatment at the Pennsylvania campuses. "We are so blessed to have the support of this wonderful group of women who conduct fundraisers throughout the year on behalf of our children," said Director of Advancement Sharon McCarthy.
The KidsPeace Academy at
Orchard Hills offers families an exceptional choice for placing children who
require structured, caring programming for emotional, behavioral and mental
health issues. Located on more than 260 wooded acres in the Lehigh Valley in
eastern Pennsylvania, the Academy balances a strong offering of treatment
options with a solid academic program and opportunities for youth to grow
intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
A parent of a former student
of the KidsPeace Academy recently had some positive feedback to offer our
staff. The young man, whom we shall call Richard, was enrolled at the KidsPeace
Academy for more than 8 months and made enormous strides in controlling his
aggressiveness, impulsivity and defiant behaviors. Richard’s mother describes
her son as having difficulties since he was 18 months old and being on
medication and in psychotherapy from the time he was 4. As he grew older, the
family and therapists realized that it was not safe for Richard to be at home,
and, at age 12, he was admitted to a juvenile facility far from home that was
very strict and showed him how difficult and unfair life could be. His
continued defiance of authority made his life very unhappy at this facility as
he made no progress and could not earn any home visits. His parents missed him
so made the long trip to visit him every 6-8 weeks, which disrupted their
personal and professional lives.
“Richard learned that life
could be ugly if you don’t follow the rules,” according to Richard’s mother.
“He hated being there, but he needed a wake-up call to make him realize that
life can be unfair.” After several months, the family contacted the KidsPeace
Academy about admission. Once the Academy had accepted Richard, his family
immediately brought him to Orefield, PA, which was closer to home and a much
“He liked it immediately,”
says Richard’s mother. The campus and facilities are clean and beautiful, and
he felt safe and secure there thanks to the structure and staff.” The KidsPeace
Academy has an entirely different approach to interacting with the students
enrolled there, Richard’s mother explains. “The staff is warm and flexible and
everyone works hard at developing relationships with the children there.”
Indeed, Richard was
happier at KidsPeace than anywhere else he had gone for treatment and
education. His mother was thrilled with the flexibility of the staff and
especially appreciative that they included Richard’s private psychiatrist on the
treatment team, allowing her long-standing understanding of him to help them
adjust his medications and tailor his therapy. “KidsPeace also welcomed my
husband and me as part of Richard’s treatment team and were in constant touch
with us. We visited weekly and were part of treatment planning sessions and
family therapy that was very helpful to all of us.”
Richard and his mother
agree that staff members at the KidsPeace Academy are caring and truly fond of
the teens in their care. They build relationships and are so involved that the
students want to succeed in part for their counselors. “And the rules at the
KidsPeace Academy are strict, but they are based on reason and responsibility,
and they are clearly spelled out and communicated. The students must meet
certain goals to progress, and they understand that,” Richard’s mother
Richard’s family was also
very pleasantly surprised that when Richard attained his goals and the parents
and private clinician felt that it was time for him to move on. The KidsPeace
Academy staff were just as accommodating in terms of arranging his discharge as
they were in getting him enrolled. “We were so impressed with the
professionalism and graciousness of all the KidsPeace Academy staff and how
they made Richard and his father and me feel. It was a positive experience all
the way around, and we are very grateful.”
To learn more about the
KidsPeace Academy at Orchard Hills, please visit our website or contact a Customer Relations
Representative at 610-799-8388, email TheAcademy@kidspeace.org or fill out the
KidsPeace Academy questionnaire.
Being a teenager is not easy, and the holiday season can cause a lot of stress and unhappiness for many young people who are unhappy or suffering from a loss. KidsPeace created TeenCentral.Net in 1998 to give teens a safe place to tell their stories, receive good advice from experienced counselors and learn about others who have had similar experiences. With more than 490,000 registered members, TeenCentral.Net has a tremendous following and offers new features all the time to keep the site fresh and interesting. There is also now a Facebook page for fans of TeenCentral.Net that contains frequent posts about what is occurring on the site.
For those who have never visited TeenCentral.Net, the site is visually appealing to teens and contains a large variety of subject matter to appeal to youth from around the country and around the world. The site is totally anonymous and constantly monitored to ensure that no identifying information is posted by any members. Teens write posts about what is bothering them or just what is on their minds and submit these posts for review by TeenCentral.Net volunteers and counselors. Each submission is answered with encouragement and advice for the member who wrote, and all posts and responses are reviewed by a Master's level counselor before being posted. Other teen members respond to posts with their own observations or advice, and these replies are also reviewed by Master's level counselors before being posted. The result is a community of teens from urban and rural areas, a variety of lifestyles but a common theme of trying to overcome the problems of growing up.
The Director of TeenCentral.Net from its inception, Dr. Julius Licata, observes that this time of year sees an increase of postings by teens who may not be anticipating the holidays. "There are teens who have lost parents or other loved ones, whose parents have divorced, who have moved, who are having peer relationship difficulties, are depressed, are in foster care, have eating disorders or substance abuse issues or are members of families facing hard economic times. The holiday season seems to intensify their negative feelings, and they write down how they feel and seek empathy and encouragement." According to Licata, TeenCentral.Net counselors are prepared to respond to as many postings as the site receives, sharing their precious holiday time with teens in need.
TeenCentral.Net also contains many features to keep teen visitors engaged, including celebrity stories about overcoming adversity to become successful later in life, a weight awareness section, recommendations of books that are aimed at the age group, helplines for emergencies, news that is relevant to teens and a page to help visitors stop smoking. All of this information is free to teens, and there is even a section for parents who are concerned about their children to seek advice. TeenCentral.Net is funded by contributions and grants, and Licata is hopeful that generous donors will remember this wonderful service to teens in their holiday giving.
The Raleigh, NC, foster
care office of KidsPeace was the proud host of the 2nd Real World
Event on Thursday, December 3, 2009. After putting together four successful
Independent Living Skills workshops, Jaime Mula (North Carolina State
University Master’s of Social Work Intern) and Antonella Lazzaro (Meredith
College Bachelor’s of Social Work Intern) were excited to host the Independent
Living Skills Real World Event. Participants had the opportunity to apply the
skills they had acquired and developed in the workshops in a nurturing,
interactive simulation of the real world and receive feedback on how well they
coped with unexpected events.
At the Real World Event,
teens were each given an occupation based on their interests and completed
assessments. The occupation information provided a monthly and annual salary.
Participants were challenged to use their salaries and develop budgets based on
everyday needs such as food, insurance, utilities, transportation and rent. A
“KidsPeace Real World Event” checkbook that included checks and a register was
also provided. The teens each received a “Life Happens!” card with an emotional
or accidental situation printed on it to make the event even more reflective of
life in the real world. Individuals were encouraged to handle all purchases and
costly situations within their salaries. Once participants finished “shopping,”
they visited the Auditor’s booth. If they over spent or did not purchase a
required amenity, they were sent back to the exhibit area to renegotiate their
To conclude the event,
interns, participants and volunteers convened to reflect on the surprises and
struggles that participants faced while budgeting their costs. Everyone shared
whether or not they had been able to stay within their assigned budgets. All of
the teens said they had fun and enjoyed taking on the task of staying within a
budget. A special “Thank You” to Matt Leggett of CapTrust Financial for
volunteering to play the role of Auditor during this event. The KidsPeace
Raleigh foster care office looks forward to the next “Real World,” which will
take place in Spring 2010.
The Broadway Campus of KidsPeace, located in Bethlehem, PA, has been undergoing many changes over the past few years thanks to donations by individuals and organizations and assistance from state legislators. A total of $5 million was raised to build a new residence that will be safe for our children in residential care and campus renovations that will also ensure that outpatient and ambulatory children receive services in a safer, more healing environment. The planning and fundraising began in 2005, and the project is now 70% complete. In fact, KidsPeace was able to rebid the project earlier this year and save significantly on construction costs.
In late November, KidsPeace invited a group of legislators to a gathering to thank them for their assistance and support for the project and to take them on a tour of the construction site. Each state legislator was presented with a plaque to express KidsPeace's gratitude and taken on a tour of the new building, which will serve as a temporary home for children receiving treatment for such issues as depression, attachment disorders, self injury, abuse, eating disorders, ADHD and a variety of other conditions that require residential treatment. The legislators were grateful for their plaques and impressed with the new building.
The attendees at this warm morning of appreciation included: Representative Karen Beyer, Representative Joseph Brennan, Representative Julie Harhart, Representative Jennifer Mann, Representative Doug Reichley, Representative Steve Samuelson, Senator Patrick Brown and Kurt Derr, District Chief of Staff Senator Lisa Boscola. On hand from KidsPeace were President and CEO Will Isemann, Executive Vice President for Marketing and Business Development Michael Slack, Executive Vice President and CFO Tim Richards, Operations Director Paul Tewes, Vice President of PA Residential and Hospital Programs Susan Mullen, Vice President of Programs Grace Fornicola, Director of HR Kevin Burgess and Interim Director of KidsPeace Hospital Bud Megargee.
New Building at Broadway Campus
Will Isemann discusses building layout with State Senator Patrick Brown and Representative Steve Samuelson and Susan Mullen