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

14 Jul

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.

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Global Life Empowerment (GLE) Month #3 – Nutrition Project

10 Apr

Doc Wayne’s Global Life Empowerment (GLE) program (http://www.docwayne.org/what-we-do/GLE), funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s After-School and Out-of-School Time (ASOST-Q) Grant Program program,  focused on nutrition and the skill “Power Up” for month #3. Participants learned the importance of making healthy food choices and how that directly impacts their performance on and off the playing field.

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

Doc Wayne's Global Life Empowerment Month #3 Nutrition Project

Doc Wayne’s Global Life Empowerment Month #3 Nutrition Project 

 

Doc Wayne Executive Director David Cohen, GM Rebekah Roulier, and Global Life Empowerment (GLE) Participant handing out fruit salad.
Doc Wayne Executive Director David Cohen, GM Rebekah Roulier, and Global Life Empowerment (GLE) Participant handing out fruit salad.

Doc Wayne GM Rebekah Roulier and Global Life Empowerment (GLE) Participant making fruit salad

Doc Wayne GM Rebekah Roulier and Global Life Empowerment (GLE) Participant making fruit salad

Doc Wayne’s Global Life Empowerment Month #3 Nutrition Project
Doc Wayne's Global Life Empowerment Project

Doc Wayne’s Global Life Empowerment Project

Global Life Empowerment Participant

Global Life Empowerment Participant

Doc Wayne Launches Global Life Empowerment Program

25 Feb

Brainstorming for Team Media Guide Project

Brainstorming for Team Media Guide Project

Doc Wayne recently launched its Global Life Empowerment (GLE) program with the support of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s After-School and Out-of-School Time (ASOST-Q) Grant Program. The purpose of this state-funded grant program is to enhance after-school and out-of-school time programs and services to improve the academic, physical, social, and emotional wellness of public and non-public school-age youth during the school year and the summer months.

Doc Wayne’s Global Life Empowerment (GLE) program enhancement, made possible through the ASOST-Q grant, helps Doc Wayne participants stretch to a new level of competence and readiness in skills essential to their educational, clinical, vocational, and social functioning. The GLE component will further assist Doc Wayne youth in embedding our do the good curriculum in their lives by involving them in active management and shaping of the program. The GLE seeks to (1) empower youth by giving them a voice, (2) provide additional out of the classroom writing and alternative self-expression opportunities and (3) teach self-regulation, social skills, and help youth learn to advocate for themselves, their needs, and desires in appropriate ways. The participants work cooperatively as a team, guided by their coach, to produce an e-Journal sharing their responses to suggested changes, lessons learned, and group leadership activities experienced.

We are happy to report that the first Forum meeting was a great success with one youth sharing, “this was a great new way to connect with my team off the court” and another adding, “it was good to be apart of something positive with others.”

In addition to feedback from program participants, their coaches and mentors, Doc Wayne has been equipped with the APT-O (Assessment of Afterschool Program Practices Tool-Observation), APT-Q (Assessment of Afterschool Program Practices Tool-Questionnaire), and SAYO (Survey of Afterschool Youth Outcomes) to document the impact of the ASOST-Q grant on our youth served, educational facilities, and communities.

For more information on Doc Wayne’s Global Life Empowerment (GLE) program please contact Rebekah Roulier, Ed.M at rroulier@docwayne.org.

Doc Wayne at Providers’ Convention and Expo

30 Nov

Rebekah Conway Roulier, Ed.M. (General Manager, Doc Wayne) and Nikki Valila (Sexual Exploitation Coordinator, Youth Villages – Germaine Lawrence Campus and Doc Wayne Coach) presented a workshop at the 37th Annual Providers’ Council Convention & Expo covering the use of sports in the group therapy setting to increase self-esteem, self concept, social awareness and to improve overall effective emotion management. Techniques from Doc Wayne’s sport-based do the good curriculum were taught.

For more information on Doc Wayne please email info@docwayne.org or visit www.docwayne.org 

Doc Wayne: Providers’ Council Innovator

21 Jun

Doc Wayne (www.docwayne.org) is now featured in the Providers’ Council Innovator Directory (http://providers.org/). The Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, Inc. is a statewide association of health and human service agencies. Founded in 1975, the Providers’ Council is the state’s largest human service trade association and is widely recognized as the official voice of the private provider industry.

This Social Innovator Directory showcases members’ social enterprises and innovative models and practices for sustaining human services.

These profiles provide a great opportunity to learn from other agencies’ innovative models, as well as to learn about social enterprise businesses in the sector and to support them with future purchases.

Please visit our innovator profile at http://providers.org/innovators/profile/doc-wayne-athletic-league-inc.

do the good.

 

From A Volunteer

27 May

New to the Doc Wayne Program during this recent basketball season, I am overwhelmed by what I’ve been a part of. My participation as a volunteer coach, referee, participant evaluator, and learning the curriculum has been, as an understatement, tremendously rewarding. To see the Doc Wayne Program in action using sports as a therapeutic tool is to see transformation happen. The participants in Doc Wayne come from an unimaginable different number of backgrounds. Through the thoughtfully designed goals which build throughout a sport season, the philosophy of the program remains constant: to build these kids up. As an outsider from the programs Doc Wayne services, it can be difficult to describe just what happens from week to week. But I know the successes when I see them shine through the eyes, smiles and sense of self the girls radiate during each session. Watching a timid girl in week one whose body language is screaming “get me out of here!!” evolve into a confident presence is more than heartwarming. Many times I’ve heard, “I can’t do that,” or “I don’t want to try” because they lack even a shred of belief in themselves. Or the girl who asks her coach to go into a game after a month of sitting on the bench, too scared to participate—and she scores her first basket. The sense of pride washing over her is unmistakable. Then, there is the effect of the program on the complete opposite type of child. The one who has developed a tough exterior and attitude to cope with her surroundings and what she has lived through. Putting in action positive reinforcement by coaches and staff taking the time to explain alternative ways to react within the moment, the defiance that once consumed the child begins to slowly soften into a respectful, communicative, thoughtful individual. Imagine the person whose first reaction to conflict resolution might have been to get into a physical fight. When you see that same girl put to use the skills Doc Wayne teaches through its goals, you can actually see her stopping herself, taking that extra breath and thinking before reacting. And when she is involved in a difficult battle for the ball and an opposing player ends up on the floor, to see her reach out her hand to help the other girl up—that is success in action. Growth is not only happening individually, but as a team. As they work together, the Doc Wayne program teaches them life skills through teamwork and active situations—as they are happening—as opposed to simply discussing hypotheticals and what to do when presented with a difficult situation. Doc Wayne provides all of this through unique therapeutic learning opportunities using sports. They have managed to turn what was once an obstacle that faced these girls into a gateway through that roadblock for them to succeed. Truly impressive.

Maren M.-Doc Wayne Volunteer

Therapeutic Referee’s Game Recap

23 May