Chalk Talk® Group Therapy: From an Intern’s Perspective

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IMG_1436Written by Sarah Ramsey, a non-profit management intern at Doc Wayne.

When you think of therapy, what do you picture?

Most of us imagine a therapist or clinician seated at their desk, directly across from a patient. Maybe some would even think of Freud and imagine the client lying on a couch, spilling their childhood troubles. Doc Wayne provides a unique form of therapy that utilizes the power of sport.

Picture a small grassy field in Framingham, MA. There is a group of seven kids playing soccer and flag football. Laughter, encouragement, and sometimes competitive jousting are heard. Three coaches are also present, playing alongside the kids. This is Doc Wayne’s version of therapy, and it works.

This week, I was lucky enough to leave the Boston office of Doc Wayne and participate in two of our Chalk Talk® Sport-Based Group Therapy sessions. Doc Wayne fuses sport and therapy to heal and strengthen at risk youth. Chalk Talk® Sport-Based Therapy groups are clinician led groups, which are assembled by age and location, and held weekly. The group I observed was playing soccer, but groups also play flag football, basketball, and participate in indoor rowing. The groups teach principles of do the good®, Doc Wayne’s curriculum, using both didactic and interactive approaches.

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Upon arriving, the children gathered into a “Circle Up.” We went around the circle stating a “Kick” (a current positive point in our life) and a “Miss (a low point). Then it was time for a warm up. We played freeze tag with soccer balls. Once you were tagged and frozen, the only way to become unfrozen was to have a teammate pass you a soccer ball. Most of the kids were eager to get out there and move. They volunteered to be “it,” and played hard despite the heat. There were a few kids who did not participate fully, but the coaches encouraged them to engage at their own level and met them where they were at. This choice by the coaches really created a safe atmosphere for the participants.

Next up was a scrimmage. Two participants were selected as captains and they each chose their team made up of Doc Wayne coaches and kids. It was so much fun playing with the participants and it made me realize why Doc Wayne is so special. Doc Wayne allows these kids to be kids. It sounds simple enough, but so many of these participants are carrying burdens that no child should have to carry, whether it is mental illness, abuse, etc. Doc Wayne programs give them an hour out of their day to kick the soccer ball, joke with coaches, show off their skills, and encourage each other.

My favorite part of the visit, was the “Circle Up” after we had finished the scrimmage. Kids gave each other “Shout Outs” for playing hard, giving encouragement, etc. Not only is Doc Wayne a safe and fun environment for the kids, but it also teaches them important social skills such as being respectful of others, and gives them confidence and affirmation.

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I am so proud to be a member of Doc Wayne for the summer and can’t wait to see how Doc Wayne keeps changing the game for at risk youth.

For more information on Doc Wayne please visit http://www.docwayne.org or follow us on twitter @DocWayneDtG.

Doc Wayne Youth Take In New England Revolution Game

11 Jul

Balmy summer nights were made for soccer under the lights. And that’s exactly what Doc Wayne youth got on Wednesday evening as they took in their first professional soccer game, courtesy of the New England Revolution. Th2df4211a-3425-4bde-9c38-eee3bca632ece team was generous enough to donate a small section of tickets to Doc Wayne to give participating youth an extraordinary soccer experience. Youth from the Italian Home for Children and the Wayside Youth & Family Support Network travelled to Gillette Stadium and met up with Doc Wayne staff to watch the Revs take on New York City FC.

The game was low on goals but the boys and girls remained glued to the action even as the clock wound down. The group’s curiosity was evident, asking questions about each team’s colors, the meaning of a yellow card, and how much time the Revs had left to score. 

It was a magical night out for Doc Wayne youth. They deepened their soccer knowledge, spent time with mentors, and felt the excitement of attending a pro sporting event. Thank you to the New England Revolution for their generosity and look forward to partnering in the future.

For more information on Doc Wayne please visit http://www.docwayne.org or follow us on twitter @DocWayneDtG.

Doc Wayne Youth Visit with Olympian & Learn to Row

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In partnership with Community Rowing and the Joseph M. Tierney Learning CenterDoc Wayne provides an indoor rowing program for Chalk Talk® sport-based group therapy participants. The program is a valuable opportunity for youth to learn about the sport of rowing while receiving accessible and engaging outpatient group therapy in their community.

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Doc Wayne’s COO Rebekah Roulier, LMHC explains, “Along with teaching core skills that assist in emotional and behavioral regulation, Doc Wayne’s indoor rowing program aims to highlight and strengthen youth participants’ sense of self-worth, resilience, and empower them to flourish as individuals and accomplish their goals through collaboration with others in the sport of rowing.”

After 7-weeks on the ergs, Chalk Talk® participants put their skills to the test on the Charles River.

On the water, Chalk Talk®  youth and coaches worked as a team to successfully move the boat while enjoying a beautiful cruise around the river.

After putting forth great effort in what was the first experience rowing on the water for most, youth were visited by Dr. Gevvie Stone, a US Olympic Rower. Gevvie shared her story of setting and completing various goals both on and off the water, her successes, setbacks, as well as the obstacles that she IMG_4993encountered along the way. Gevvie emphasized the importance of doing what you love, being passionate about what you choose to pursue in life, and building your support team.

Youth refueled with lunch while receiving their certificates acknowledging the hard work they had put in throughout the program.

Aymee Suarez, a Clinical Game Changer at Doc Wayne reflected on how “wonderful it was to see our youth experience a new sport, learn self-compassion, and appreciate how far they have come individually and as a group in 7 weeks. I am proud of each and every participant and grateful that I had the opportunity to share with them a sport I love.”

Doc Wayne is appreciative of our collaborative partners, Community Rowing and the Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center and look forward to upcoming trips to the boat house!

Additional photos of the event can be viewed here.

For more information on Doc Wayne please visit us at http://www.docwayne.org or follow us on twitter @DocWayneDtG.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Celtic RJ Hunter Inspires Doc Wayne Youth

16 May

This past March, a group of middle and high school students from Doc Wayne were invited to participate in a fun-filled afternoon at Sky Zone-Danvers hosted by Boston Celtics guard, RJ Hunter. Hunter was selected with the 28th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics and has been playing with the team since July when he signed his contract. On March 8th, the Doc Wayne youth arrived at Sky Zone where RJ Hunter and the Celtics staff arranged a special evening designed just for them.

The evening consisted of students participating in structured and unstructured games on the trampolines. After that, the Doc Wayne youth then had a chance to talk with and learn froBAB_4773.JPGm RJ over a pizza party. Rebekah Roulier, Doc Wayne’s Associate Director, reflected on the evening by expressing, “The evening was full of the joy and happiness of just being a kid and many youth were encouraged and inspired by conversations with RJ. For our Doc Wayne youth, these moments are invaluable.”


Our Clinical Director, Jonathan Baum also reflected on the event by stating, “It was a once in a lifetime experience for a group of kids that would likely never get this type of opportunity. Not only was it a fun event, but RJ Hunter is clearly a good person. He was great with the kids and was genuinely interested in them. He was not doing this for the publicity, but out of kindness. RJ is a great role model and doing this for the kids will definitely have a lasting impact.”

One of Doc Wayne’s Executive Director’s favorite moments from the event was an impact RJ had on a specific individual. David Cohen described this individual as “aBAB_4823 young boy who struggles daily and initially, at Sky Zone, was not participating…..until he had a chance to speak with RJ.  The young boy expressed how RJ made him realize how great being an athlete really was and to always be humble. Even though he was originally hesitant towards participating, after speaking with RJ, his feelings immediately changed and he felt that his time with RJ changed his life.”

The Doc Wayne team cannot express enough, how grateful we are for everything RJ and the Boston Celtics staff did for our youth. It was an incredible evening and something our youth will not forget. Doc Wayne’s staff and youth had an amazing time throughout the day and truly appreciate all that the Celtics have done. Doc Wayne will always be a supporter of RJ and the rest of the Boston Celtics!

For more information on Doc Wayne please contact us at info@docwayne.org or follow us on twitter @DocWayneDtG.

Doc Wayne Levels the Playing Field

5 May

After a long year of preparation the big day finally arrived! On April 1, 2016 Doc Wayne hosted our inaugural conference, Leveling the Playing Field. The goal of the conference was for leaders from sports, mental health, and social justice to join together and learn about the work of like-minded individuals and nonprofits, exchange ideas, and explore ways to work together to strengthen the communities we serve.

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The conference took place at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge and over one hundred and fifty attendants came out to work together and join the conversation on how we can all become game changers. Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey started the day off as our keynote speaker, with a heartening speech about her belief in the power of sports and her strong support of Doc Wayne’s efforts to assist youth. In her opening speech, the Attorney General emphasized, “I believe in the power of sports to overcome violence, build skills, and bring people together.”

The day then continued on with food, fun, and our photo booth! Two panel discussion sessions were held throughout the day with numerous guest speakers weighing in on topics that included: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Violence, and Mental Illness through Innovation and Game Changing Innovations.

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The first panel was moderated by WBUR’s Deborah Becker and included representatives from Boston Public Schools, Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, Boston Public Health Commission, New England Community Services, Inc., and Fallon Community Health Plan. The panelists discussed innovative ways we can break the cycle of poverty, violence, and mental illness.

Doc Wayne’s very own Rebekah Roulier joined the second panel discussion with various other game changing innovators. Fred Mann, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation moderated the panel, while guest speakers discussed ways to positively impact youth and reach the goals of the organizations they represent. The representatives on the panel included: Matt Meyersohn from Sports Partnerships at U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Rebekah Roulier from Doc Wayne Youth Services, Marquis Taylor from Coaching4Change, Nikki Valila from My Life My Choice and the Co-founder of Grassroot Soccer, Ethan Zohn represented his organization. The discussion emphasized what we can achieve even with the barriers in our way.

The goals of the conference, were for the participants to exchange ideas, and explore ways to work together to strengthen the communities they serve. Leveling the Playing Field

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Members of Doc Wayne’s team

achieved just that. Doc Wayne’s Executive Director, David Cohen’s dream is to see practitioners, local leaders and philanthropists working together to create a continuum of care for our youth (read more). We could not have been happier with how the day went and we have great appreciation for everyone who was in attendance and helped make this event happen. None of this would have been possible without the hard work and determination of the Doc Wayne team and our event sponsors. We cannot wait until next year’s Leveling the Playing Field conference. #BeAGameChanger2016! 

For more information on Doc Wayne please email us at info@docwayne.org or follow us on twitter @DocWayneDtG.

 

My Experience of the Power of Kids: Bella Vidaña

22 Apr

In February, I began as a Non-Profit Management Intern for Doc Wayne and was more than pleased to know I would be learning about the behind-the-scenes operations that go on into a non-profit organization, considering it is my dream to one day create my own non-profit organization. I also appreciated Doc Wayne’s impactful work providing sport-based group therapy to at-risk youth and valued the fact that I could contribute to the positive influence Doc Wayne was having on the children and families in our Boston community. Well, at least I thought I knew and appreciated the impact of the organization. ©AD.7679.0141

A few weeks into my internship, my supervisor Rebekah Roulier, asked if I would be interested in helping facilitate their newest Global Life Empowerment (GLE) endeavor, a program in partnership with UNICEF Kid Power, a four-week program where the philosophy and mission is to “Get Active. Save Lives.” Through being active, learning about global issues, and earning Kid Power Points, the youth at Doc Wayne would unlock therapeutic food packets for severely malnourished African children. I was instantly attracted to the concept of Kid Power, especially since I realized the work we would be doing here at Doc Wayne with our kids through this program would be helping kids globally, specifically in Africa. So, I said yes.

It was not until my first GLE session at the Tierney Learning Center in South Boston that I actually understood and saw the powerful impact Doc Wayne had upon their youth participants. Like I said before, I thought I knew. But until I put myself in front of those kids, interacted with them, and learned to appreciate them and all they had to offer the world, and me, I finally “really” knew.

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Doc Wayne Associate Director Rebekah Roulier with Kid Power Participant

In the hours that led up to my first GLE session, my nervousness stemmed from the worry that the kids would not connect with me. Considering I have worked with a number of populations in past experiences, including kids, I am not sure why I was feeling this worry. I think it was because I wanted to be the best leader I could be for them. I wanted to be someone they could trust, rely on, and feel comfortable being around. I wanted to be someone they could look up to. That worry went away once I stepped into the building, saw the kids laughing and running around, and realized that this wasn’t about me. It was about them. And then I was okay. I felt content in my ability, and my co-facilitator’s ability (Aymée, a Clinical Game Changer). I was confidant that we would be for them exactly what they needed; adults who believed in them. From that point on, every Thursday for the next four weeks, it worked.

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Doc Wayne Clinical Game Changer Aymee Suarez with Kid Power Participant

I have found a specific gratitude towards the GLE program, given that it brought me to the most precious piece of Doc Wayne, the kids. The Global Life Empowerment program “further assists participants in embedding the do the good® curriculum in their lives.” It seeks to empower youth by providing them with service opportunities in order to give back to their community and develop compassion, love and responsibility. Having been involved in many service trips myself, both domestically and internationally; I understand the supremacy of helping and sharing my love with others through service. There is something to be said in the way people, whether young or old, so freely give of themselves solely for the purpose of making others smile. I believe that is the mindset GLE has brought to its youth and I am proud I could both witness and be apart of this “giving” mindset.

Do the good,

Bella

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

Doc Wayne Youth Ready for Winter Thanks to the Highland Street Foundation

22 Jan

The snow is falling, the temperatures are dropping and the anticipation of winter is over! Winter has arrived. Lucky enough for the team here at Doc Wayne we know our kids will be extra warm this winter thanks to the Highland Street Foundation.

The Highland Street Foundation is committed to addressing the needs and concerns of children and families in Massachusetts and California. The Foundation directs their efforts to providing access and opportunities in the areas of education, housing, mentorship, health care, environment and the arts.  The Highland Street Foundation has contributed more than $165 million to non-profit organizations since its establishment in 1989.

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Doc Wayne kids showing off their new coats

Our mission at Doc Wayne is to fuse sport and therapy to heal and strengthen at-risk youth and our goal is to help young people find their positive path and become responsible contributing members of society. Our relationship with the Highland Street Foundation, who shares similar goals and values as Doc Wayne began in July 2015, when the organization was selected to receive a Community Impact Consultant.

Recently Doc Wayne received a call from the Highland Street Foundation offering to donate winter coats to our youth. We are extremely appreciative of this generous donation. With 85 brand new jackets and smiles, Doc Wayne youth are ready for whatever winter has in store!

To learn more about The Highland Street Foundation visit: http://www.highlandstreet.org

For more information about Doc Wayne please contact us at info@docwayne.org and follow us @DocWayneDtG

 

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