We've developed a program called Teaching Compassion. It's designed to show children how to be kind and compassionate towards themselves, their families, their communities and the world. The program consists of 5 lessons, provided by licensed family therapists, along with an activity that helps reinforce that day's message. This year, we're adding art and music therapy components as well. We also administer pre and post tests that have been validated through an outside source.
We've partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Jackson County to offer the program at each of their four units. We selected the Boys & Girls Clubs because their children are some of the most in need of mental health services, but probably the least likely to receive them.
The program is now in its second year and the feedback we've received is nothing short of amazing. Both unit directors and parents have told us they've seen improved behavior and coping skills among the children. The program has been selected the Boys & Girls Club 2016 Program of the Year at both the local and state levels.
Due to the success of our first year, our United Way recently awarded the program a grant that will allow a licensed family therapist to provide small group counseling/therapy once each week, for a total of 10 weeks, at all of the units in Jackson County. Combined with the Teaching Compassion lessons, it is hoped that the children will make even greater strides this year.