by Kathryn Boothby, Special Report on Private Schools
Venture Academy is a private coed residential treatment program for teens aged 13 to 18 with emotional and/or behavioural challenges that interfere with their functioning at home or school. It has locations in Alberta and Ontario.
“We provide short-term intervention and assessment programs as well as longer-term treatment,” says Jeff Brain, director of admissions and program development.
“We provide a 30-day intervention with assessment as well as ongoing treatment.”
The length of stay varies, with some teens staying for one or two months while others may be in the program for nine to 10 months. “It is highly individualized based on the needs of the child. Treatment is customized with targeted specific goals and planning is reviewed with parents each month,” says Brain.
Most teens who enter the program have a number of behavioural challenges, most notably oppositional behaviour which exhibits more defiance that seen in a typical teenager, notes Brain. “There is conflict in family relationships and difficulty managing behaviour in the classroom. Many have dropped out of school because they are unable to manage in a traditional academic setting. These are, however, good kids from good families, they are simply unable to regulate their behaviour and it impacts negatively on their lives,” he says. “Other have suffered significant life trauma that has resulted in a tail-spin, where their ability to cope exceeds their capabilities.”
THE WAY WE APPROACH KIDS IS A BIG PART OF OUR SUCCESS – JEFF BRAIN, DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS
The success of Venture Academy (VA) comes from being immediately available. “There is no wait list. We can meet parents when they are most in need and looking for help before things worsen or their child ages out of the program,” says Brain. “The way we approach kids is also a big part of our success. It is relationship-oriented and non-judgmental. We listen and hear their experience and take an uplifting approach in helping them deal with the challenges in their lives.”
During a child’s time at VA staff also co-ordinate with the student’s original school to help get them back on track academically on their return. “We see our kids go on to university, receive marriage and birth announcements and celebrate the milestones with them,” says Brain. “Knowing we helped get them there is extremely rewarding.”
Excerpt from Bridge over Troubled Waters, National Post, Education, Special Report on Private Schools May 27, 2017