Work Therapy

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 youth structure and discipline, the opportunity to learn new skills, and a chance to give back to their community.  In 2020, the kids involved in our program spent 8023 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 have an 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.

Bike Group
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.

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.


Educational Groups:

Library:  The youth engage in educational activities and career exploration. 

Forward Thinking: Forward Thinking is a cognitive behavioral service that uses evidence-based strategies to assist youth involved in the criminal justice system in making positive changes to their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Thinking for a Change (T4C): T4C is an integrated cognitive behavioral change program that incorporates evidence based research from cognitive restructuring theory, social skills development, and the learning and use of problem solving skills.

Sunlight Village:  This group provides mentoring, leadership, support and training programs and services to youth and young adults. 


“Giving Back” Work Therapy Groups

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.

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.

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.

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