The Gathering Place’s Grow and Flourish Program
The Grow and Flourish program at The Gathering Place is an essential part of parents’ growth to become healthier people and to parent in a healthy manner. AFS staff believes education and understanding are necessary for our clients to grow and evolve. It is not enough to tell our parents not to do something (i.e. hit when angry or overwhelmed), they need to understand what trauma is, how their actions traumatize their children, teach them how to reflect and what appropriate responses are. The Grow and Flourish program helps clients heal physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
The parents who have completed the course say they really gained a lot of beneficial information and skills they can actually implement in their lives. Many have asked for more classes. The Grow and Flourish program also provides wrap-around support to parents in distress. We had a Mom that was having a problem with her clinician, (she did not want to hear the hard conversations in therapy). We sent the parent to a session with the Grow and Flourish educator, and Mom was able to take responsibility and apologize to the clinician. Mom’s visits eventually ended at T.G.P. but we don’t consider this a failure. We know we poured a lot into Mom, and progress is never a straight line.
Staff supports our parents, even when their progress is hindered. Recently, there have been three parents whose services had to be halted due to their not meeting the program criteria. All three asked what they could do to come back. For each, we gave tasks such as starting individual therapy and getting admitted to a drug treatment program. All three parents were able to complete the required tasks and are now back in the program. We plan to support them and help them to continue their progress with the ultimate goal of reunifying with their kids.
The Grow and Flourish program is one of many AFS programs that utilize intensive services to help treat root problems and teach healthier ways to manage the daily stressors that often contribute to neglectful scenarios.