The weeks between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a great time at Hillsides as residents come and go from day trips and family visits. School has not been in session so it is a less structured period when residents and staff in smaller groups can engage in fun, relaxing activities that help to reset the agenda for each child as we plan for the beginning of the new year.
For all of us, this is a time to assess the past year and identify goals for the new year. The key, of course, is to establish reasonable and attainable goals so when we achieve them, a sense of accomplishment develops.
The individual goals for each child and family in our care are specific but they fall within some general categories: staying safe, improving their sense of well-being, and finding their way back home. No matter the individual details, all the goals fall within these three categories.
Although certain measures are in place to assure safety, it has more to do with the frame of mind than the physical setting. Unsafe activities are generated by feelings of desperation that can lead to entertaining risky or unsafe behavior. More than anything else, being sensitive to the traumas that have been experienced and supporting relationships that allow our residents to address those traumas are essential to keeping them safe.
Related to this, of course, is the provision of quality care that is focused and individualized, oriented to effectively address issues that result in an improvement of behavior, an understanding of the causes, and measurable progress towards improvement. This is easier said than done, but absolutely essential if the child and their family can hope to be restored as a family unit.
Finding their way back home
These elements of safety and well-being are the foundation for establishing a pathway towards stability and permanency so that disruptive patterns can be broken and hope for normalcy established.
These are significant goals that are important to achieve but I am reminded that without the support we receive from so many, we would be hard pressed to accomplish much. As we have in the past, during the holiday season we count on the generosity of the community to help us create a memorable holiday for all we serve. Again this year we were truly blessed by an outpouring of generosity allowing us to fulfill the many “wishes” that had been conveyed to us by all those we serve. Thank you to all who so generously supported us during the holiday season. Such amazing contributions allow us to support the children, youth, and families we serve as they start the new year hopeful that the goals and dreams that they have for 2014 will be realized.