ON THE ROAD – Back to Cottage 4

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ON THE ROAD WITH CAL FARLEY’S INTERNATIONAL CONSULTANT Forty years ago today I walked in to a cottage on a residential program campus on the North Side of Pittsburgh; a place that would be my own primary residence for the next three years. I would live there five days a week working with twelve girls and boys. I just took the job as a place-holder until I started law school. It turns out that law school was not meant to be part of my story. I had no intention that this would be the beginning of my career. As it turns out, it was the most meaningful and important job I’ve ever had. It set the course of my life and was the gateway to my profession. As I looked forward to this anniversary, I have reflected a great deal on that time and place. The teachers who have influenced my life cross a wide spectrum of fame, disciplines, experience and age. There were three great influences on my professional life in the earliest days of my career. First was the work of Nicholas Hobbs and what is known simply as Re-ED. His focus on wellness rather than pathology, on teaching rather … Continue reading

ON THE ROAD WITH CAL FARLEY’S INTERNATIONAL CONSULTANT

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Seems like there is always something to learn when traveling… Measuring Success by Statistics and Smiles: The week of March 16th I attended the 7th annual conference of the European Federation of Conflict Management and Treatment in Education and Care (EFeCT) in Budapest, Hungary.  I’ll write more about that organization and conference in a subsequent entry.  Now I want to focus on the program visit experiences of the two pre-conference days in the Hungarian cities of Győr and Salgótarján. Győr is a city in the western part of Hungary, sitting about halfway between Budapest and Vienna, Austria.  We visited a school there, Kossuth Lajos Elementary School, that served young people who could not function well in regular community schools.  Most of the students were from the Roma community in the city.  The school is poorly funded.   In 2010 our colleagues from Pressley Ridge Hungary became involved in a training and consulting capacity and, according to statistics in four key areas, since then student performance has improved.  The four areas measured are school attendance, academic performance, serious discipline meetings, and continuation in school. In the period between 2008 and 2010, prior to the involvement of Pressley Ridge Hungary, the trends in school attendance, academic progress, and continuation in school were … Continue reading

From An Old West Town to a Therapeutic Community:

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Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch – A Work in Progress Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch began in a courthouse in the old West town of Tascosa. Beginnings, in most things, have a significant impact on journeys. The same holds for a boys’ ranch founded among the backdrop of cattle thieves and gunslingers. Our history has carried with it many traditional beliefs which have strengthened our mission and, at other times, weakened it.   These established ideas included each staff member utilizing his/her own personal approach to childrearing, labeling children as sick or broken, and a heavy dosing of behavior modification. Over the past 75 years, we have grown from housing a mere 9 wayward boys to a capacity of almost 300 boys and girls, aging from pre-school to seniors. During this time we have shifted our beliefs from the more traditional to transformational. In tandem with this trend has been our progression as a trauma aware facility. Although we have been relationally focused for several years, just recently we began an intense journey of learning about how relationships and experiences impact brain development. Pioneers in the field who have guided our thinking include Dr. Karyn Purvis of Texas Christian University’s Institute of Childhood … Continue reading