youth challenge center
The DOC has identified the major areas that are required to be a successful individual and is committed to assisting the students through:
- Instill and promote self-reliance, self-confidence, self-discipline, self- respect, respect for authority, respect for others, teamwork, skill acquisition, responsibility, and pride in accomplishment.
- Promote personal growth by developing a work ethic and acquiring personal hygiene habits and social skills.
- Enhancement of overall physical and mental wellness.
- Promote functional family discussion through continued family involvement.
- Develop the knowledge and skills to establish positive relationships.
- Recognize and develop empathy and compassion for others.
- Develop skills to meet their basic needs.
- Learn the skills required to succeed in the community
It is our goal to return to the community young men that are law abiding, respectful, healthy in mind and body, and motivated to succeed in whatever they set their minds to.
The education program for the young men in Youth Challenge Center operates as an accredited high school. Students may also earn a GED if they are significantly behind in their education and do not intend to return to the public school system. Most students see a dramatic increase in their educational performance and achievement level while participating in the Youth Challenge Center. The Artist in Residence program also frequents the STAR Academy on a regular basis. The artists work with the students to help give them an understanding and appreciation of the fine arts.
Youth are given screening tests for achievement upon entering the Youth Challenge Center. The results of these tests, accompanied with the transcript and additional educational information from their home school district, allows education staff to place each student in coursework that is appropriate. Students in need of special education services can receive those services while at Youth Challenge Center. In fact, many students that have previously experienced learning difficulties in the past are identified through the screening process and receive the additional services that allow them to succeed.
The Youth Challenge Center provides assessments for counseling needs upon entering the program. These assessments may continue throughout the duration of the program and may involve the administration of specific testing tools, one-to-one interaction, group interaction and behavioral observation. Each youth will be placed on an individual treatment plan to identify and measure their accomplishments and learned objectives throughout their stay. Staff meetings are routinely held to discuss individual cases, facilitate communication between all staff, assist in development of goals and treatment plans for all students and include the input of counseling and educational staff.
Each youth is assigned a Youth Counselor whose sole duty is assisting the youth in addressing the issues that have led to their placement within the DOC, dealing with personal and family issues, and providing for the ongoing counseling needs inherent to youth in correctional environments. Additionally, professional psychological counseling and psychiatric care are available, both on and off campus, through services and staff provided by the Department of Human Services and Rapid City Regional West Hospital.
Counseling is based in Reality Therapy, Behavioral Therapy and Corrective Thinking. Reality Therapy rests on the central idea that we choose our behavior and are therefore responsible not only for what we are doing but also for how we think and feel. The general aim in this therapeutic system is to provide conditions that will help students develop the psychological strength to evaluate their present behavior and, if it does not meet their basic needs, to acquire a more effective behavior. Behavioral Therapy offers various action-oriented methods to help students take steps to change what they are doing and thinking. Goals occupy a place of central importance in behavioral therapy. The desired outcome is to create new conditions for learning. Continual assessment throughout therapy determines the degree to which these goals are being met. Corrective Thinking programs focus on thinking, not feelings, coupled with accountability in clear and concise sanctions that strongly influence individuals to pursue genuine, positive change.
All students may receive individual counseling as determined by their treatment plan and may be self referred at any time or referred by staff. Additional counseling will be provided for youth requesting additional sessions or those identified as needing additional services.
Group Counseling sessions are held at least five times weekly. The counseling modality during these sessions is based on Reality Therapy, Behavior Therapy and Corrective Thinking. Group meetings are facilitated by a counselor and provide an excellent opportunity for students to learn responsibility, decision making skills, enhance empathy for others, and learn to respect confidentiality and discussion of sensitive issues. Groups will focus on identifying and sharing solutions, assisting group members in resolving personal conflicts and learning how to effectively communicate within a group setting.
These sessions also assist the youth in developing self-confidence, self-worth and provide an excellent opportunity to develop the communication skills needed to work in a group.
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