Work Therapy Program
Work Therapy Groups are the foundation of the Building Bridges program, with 20-25 young people involved in a variety of labor or therapeutic activity groups each week. Work Therapy Groups offer structure and discipline, the opportunity to learn new skills, and a chance to give back to their community. In 2013, the kids involved in our program spent 9850 hours working in the Dayton community as part of our Work Therapy Program.
Building Bridges programming is implemented and overseen by the Montgomery County Juvenile Court Community Based Services probation unit. Community Based Services Work Therapy staff focus on teaching the kids to work as a team. Their main objective while working with the kids is to help them develop skills such as planning, decision-making, prioritizing, and conflict resolution. The youth learn proper work etiquette, become skilled at taking directives, and learn how to receive constructive criticism. Over time, the kids begin to develop patience, a sense of purpose, responsibility, and with hard work and a little sweat, a newfound respect for manual labor.
The staff has the opportunity to get to know each youth better, gaining a clearer picture of his or her interests, likes, dislikes, fears, views on life and their situation at home. Once they gain a better overall understanding of the youth, they are better able to place them in additional programming that will help them improve their ability to succeed, build self-esteem and make better choices.
At Building Bridges, our mission is to act as a "safety net" for at-risk youth that are involved in the Montgomery County Juvenile Court by intervening and redirecting their lives through innovative programming that offers discipline, structure and opportunity in a compassionate and supportive environment. Work Therapy staff is able to spend valuable one-on-one time with each of the kids giving them much needed structure in a supportive environment that many of our youth have not experienced before. For the majority of our kids, encouragement and support of their efforts are lacking in the home environment.
Youth who have participated in Work Therapy Groups have, on a consistent basis, shown drastic improvements in relationships at home, school, and in the community. These youth also tend to have a lower recidivism rate, minimal gang association, and are typically drug free. Approximately 80% of the youth involved in Work Therapy return to society as productive members.
Work Therapy Groups:
Humane Society Work Therapy Group
The purpose of this group is to build and strengthen a relationship between client and counselor, while also building the foundation for a good work ethic. Once a week, a staff member and three youth volunteer at the animal shelter to interact with the pets. This interaction includes bathing the dogs, cleaning kennels, doing laundry, and assisting with administrative duties and special events.
Sons of Thunder
The Sons of Thunder group takes place in a garage on Smithville at the Belmont United Methodist Church. It is a specialized group where young men go to not only learn the ins and outs of being a motor vehicle mechanic, but to learn about lessons on life and themselves. Throughout the 12 week course, the youth are able to experience things they otherwise may not have had the opportunity to experience: going to several racing events and meeting famous race car drivers, going go kart racing, and many other events. Upon completion of the program, the youth earns a Mechanic Basics Certificate that qualifies them to work in the mechanics field, doing basic labor at an auto mechanic shop. Some of the staff includes faith based mentors who work with the youth and are affiliated with the church were the group is held.
Group goes to the Life Enrichment Center to build/repair bikes that were donated. The bike group staff teaches youth the fundamentals of bicycles and how to build or repair them. All the participants are required to build a bicycle, and they get to keep it as a reward for their efforts.
Landscape & Beautification Work Therapy Groups:
Beautification Group: This group picks up trash in various areas of the community, i.e. schools, parks, roads and streets, etc., that have been neglected by the City of Dayton.
CAS Weeding: This group combines teamwork with patience, determination, and a newfound respect for manual labor. This is accomplished in the form of pulling weeds at the Center for Adolescent Services. During this group, the youth are responsible for pulling the weeds along the front, sides, and entrance signs of the CAS facility.
Lawn Mowing and Snow Removal: The lawn mowing group provides lawn mowing, free of charge, for the elderly, and people with physical and/or developmental disabilities. The groups are usually conducted in the Spring, Summer, and Fall, depending on the demand for this service.
TJ’s Place of Hope: This group sometimes does trash pick up on the grounds. The youth also participate in the counseling sessions regarding drug use, etc.
Library: The youth may fill out job applications on the computers, as well as do research on a particular topic.
“Giving Back” Work Therapy Groups
Grafton Oaks Nursing Home: Group assists elderly residents in the nursing home with various recreational activities, such as playing bingo and socializing. Many of the residents have limitations with their sight, hearing, or motor skills, and the youth are able to assist them with daily physical activities, such as walking or being more mobile. The nursing home and residents show their appreciation by holding an annual volunteer recognition ceremony for the youth once a year.
Access Center: Group assists the Access Center in delivering medical supplies to needy families, as well as picking up donations from families to deliver to the Access Center.
Moving Group: This group will do light moves of used furniture in conjunction with Children’s Services and referrals for the indigent.
St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter: This group assists in washing, drying and folding laundry in the St. Vincent de Paul laundry room, as well as assisting in loading linen carts for each of the two dorms. Others jobs may include helping in the kitchen, stocking food in the food pantry, cleaning carts, and sorting out the clothing in the storage room.
Recreation Centers Group: This group is intended for cleaning up the City of Dayton Recreation Centers. Current locations include, but are not limited to, Princeton Rec Center (Northwest) and the Lohrey Recreation Center (Glenarm Dr.). The youth help out by picking up trash around the buildings, wiping down all equipment, organizing storage rooms and sports equipment, vacuuming, sweeping and mopping floors.
Churches: The youth help out by picking up trash around the church and doing some light cleaning inside.
• United Baptist Church
• Northgate Church
• First Church of God
• Potter House Church – The group gets to eat the food served to the needy & then help with clean up.
Foodbank/Food to Go: This group helps sort boxes, canned goods, and also sort through the produce, separating fruit from vegetables and separating good from bad. During the school year the group packs backpacks with food for schools and agencies to issue to hungry children to take home over the weekend.