Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Boys: Week 1

'sup Reader,

Tomorrow's a big day. Tomorrow at noon, I meet my boys.

Since last Tuesday, I've been counselor-in-training Chris at Brooklawn Child and Family Services, a residential counseling facility that hosts boys ages 6-171 with behavioral, emotional, and social difficulties, due mostly (but not entirely) to shitty parenting. After completing a short written exam in the morning, I'll receive my assignment to one of Brooklawn's 10 cottages. I'm not gonna lie to you, I'm kinda terrified, but it's a good kinda terrified...I think...

The majority of my training has involved learning verbal and non-verbal anti-aggression tactics. Ideally, I'll be able to calm down any youth without having to resort to restraint or seclusion, but that probably won't be the case...yeah... Hence, part of training included Safe Crisis Management (SCM), handy and safe restraint techniques I can use on the boys. I passed my SCM skill set on Friday, so in theory I'm totally set, but I'm me, so that's an automatic negative. Also, it they find out I'm ticklish, I'm just screwed.

I haven't had a chance to really meet the kids yet, but I've spent my 30-minute lunch breaks talking with some of them. The ones that stick out most in my mind are a teen with schizophrenia; a boy who wants to be a zoologist specializing in reptiles (he was really keen on the crocs); and a young tyke who doesn't say much (I actually don't think I've ever heard him say anything), but who without fail will take my tray at the end of lunch. He doesn't have to help me. The senior staff thinks he's doing it for extra points towards completing his STEPS2 requirement for the day. Regardless, I appreciate it.

By far, the highlight of the week was lunch Friday. I was getting up to leave, and I noticed a boy in a "Soulja Boy" t-shirt. I don't really contain excitement, so I exclaimed, "Ah! 'Soulja Boy'! YOUUU!!!!" He yelled back "YOUUU!!!" and broke out in a perfect rendition of the dance smack in the middle of the cafeteria. It was epic.

Alright, it's study time. Catch y'all later!


1 Rarely, a teen chooses to extend his time as a ward of the state until his 21st birthday, meaning Brooklawn can serve him for an additional 3 years.

2 STEPS stands for Strategies Toward Effective Problem Solving. It's a program designed to help our boys modify their behavior so as to be more socially appropriate (i.e. it teaches them to better control their emotions, predominantly anger).

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