The Leadership and Empowerment Action Program (L.E.A.P.) is an out-of-school program, combining life skills training with practical and creative techniques for effectively meeting challenges and new experiences, creating a healthy self-image, and becoming leaders and role models among peers, friends and family. The overall goal of the project is to increase the self-esteem of foster and adopted youth by reinforcing their individual strengths and values to ultimately promote their belief in a positive future. Objectives include: Building healthy relationships, including family relationships Strong communication Conflict resolution skills Healthful living for body and mind Positive support of mentorship across generations
The L.E.A.P. program will meet for 4 hours every Saturday from 10:00am to 2:00pm, rotating through a series of modules (each lasting approximately 8 weeks) which will emphasize different skills and activities. The Saturday sessions are designed to be ongoing therapeutic workshops will help participants to identify personal, effective ways to handle the impact of foster care or adoption on their lives. The L.E.A.P. program will kick off with an interactive team- building Saturday session, introducing the program participants to one another and to the components of the program and its overall requirements, opportunities and rewards. Refer to the Program Calendar for the schedule of activities throughout the year.
Special Activity Days Visits to Sunrise Assisted Living Facility in Rockville, MD Facilitated by Jeanne Reilly Participants will receive an Aging Awareness Training and tour on first visit Visits will occur once per month thereafter Participants will have opportunities to incorporate their skills from L.E.A.P. modules into their interactions with Sunrise residents Special Presentations Teambuilding Kickoff Myers-Briggs Personality Strengths Workshop Diversity Training Workshop Field Trips – Current ideas include: Hiking National Mall in D.C. Spa Day
All program youth and their families will be expected to attend parent workshops on the 2 nd Thursday evening of each month. Thursday parent workshops will build a support network for adoptive and foster parents and provide parents with a deeper understanding of how foster care and adoption have impacted their child’s life and what they can do to provide support. The workshops are also designed to enhance family communication and general parenting skills. Topics may include: Unique issues faced by adopted adolescents and their families (e.g. grief, loss, understanding and navigating the legal and child welfare system) Empowerment to assist youth in answering tough questions about adoption or foster care How schools can create a positive adoption environment Substance abuse prevention and early identification Family communication Youth and parents will be given an opportunity to help provide input to staff on what topics would be of interest and most helpful to them! Dinner will be provided for the family and childcare supplemented with supervised art activities will be available for younger siblings. While the parents are attending the workshops, the youth will utilize their newly developed food service skills to prepare and serve dinner.
The Jim & Carol Trawick Foundation The Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation was established in December, 2005. The Foundation, located in Bethesda, MD, serves as a vehicle for the founders, Jim and Carol Trawick, to continue their philanthropic activities. The Trawick’s are successful business owners and community activists. They have been long time supporters of the arts and health and human service causes. The Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation funds programs and activities that are: Primarily located in Montgomery County, MD Benefit Montgomery County residents Created by local health/human service and arts non-profit organizations for specific projects that will demonstrably impact the local community by reaching people in need and encouraging and sustaining creative activities www.trawick.org
Four Core Organizations L.E.A.P. C.A.S.E. Through the Kitchen Door Interages VisArts
The Center for Adoption Support and Education 4000 Blackburn Ln, Burtonsville, MD Created in May 1998 as a non-profit to provide pre and post-adoption counseling and educational services to families, educators, child welfare staff, and mental health providers in MD, VA, and D.C. C.A.S.E. works to strengthen the well-being of foster and adopted children, teens and their families. This mission is achieved by: Providing a safe place for children, adults, and families of all adoptive experiences, to share their thoughts and feelings about adoption Promoting the mental health of foster and adopted children, teens and their families through specialized counseling services Educating families, professionals and the community about the unique joys and challenges of adoption Establishing collaborations and partnerships within the public and private sectors Participating in the national and international field of adoption study, research and program development Over the past 11 years, C.A.S.E. has served more than 3,500 foster and adoptive families and provided more than 7,000 clinical sessions www.adoptionsupport.org
The Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts 155 Gibbs St, Rockville, MD Through its visual arts outreach programs, VisArts works to unleash creativity in such a way that it steers the youth’s experiences of risk and low self-esteem toward success and leadership. VisArts’ mission is to develop passion for the visual arts, foster creative activity, and expand artistic knowledge through exemplary education, exhibition, and community outreach programs serving children and adults. VisArts structures its outreach programs as powerful tools that help young people make sense of the challenges before them. Having young people work together with professional artists and adults fosters positive development that is essential to becoming a successful adult. www.visartscenter.org
Through The Kitchen Door 3305 Pauline Dr, Chevy Chase, MD Dedicated to empowering recent immigrant and low income adults and at-risk youth, Through The Kitchen Door® training programs are designed to enhance and support increased self-esteem, self-confidence, knowledge and skills. The hands- on cooperative training techniques create an aspirational environment encouraging and enabling healthy life choices, improved family stability, success in school, professional advancement and active community involvement. We do all this in the kitchen, working and learning together in a known, safe, nurturing setting teaching delicious, healthy, economical, culturally respectful cooking and important life skills. www.kitchendoor.org
Interages 3950 Ferrara Dr, Wheaton, MD Interages is a leading center of innovative intergenerational programming that positively impacts the growing and diverse community of older adults and youth. Interages has 23 years’ experience providing intergenerational programming in Montgomery County, MD. The organization’s mission is to create a more age-integrated community by promoting improved communication, understanding, and quality of life for older adults and youth. Interages programs create opportunities for adults (ages 50+) to work directly with children and youth in a variety of school- based settings; and for students to visit and support isolated adult residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In addition, Interages: Models effective intergenerational programs Disseminates information and provides training and technical assistance Facilitates communication among entities with an intergenerational interest Since its inception, Interages has helped thousands of at-risk children and frail and isolated seniors. www.interagesmd.org
Liz Lerman Dance Exchange 7117 Maple Ave, Takoma Park, MD Liz Lerman Dance Exchange is a professional company of dance artists that creates, performs, teaches, and engages people in making art. Since its start in 1976, and in each encounter, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange asks four questions: Who gets to dance? Where is the dance happening? What is it about? Why does it matter? Liz Lerman Dance Exchange answers these questions with a range of interrelated activities: Groundbreaking new dance works performed by a cross-generational company on major stages internationally, throughout the U.S., and at home in the communities of Maryland, Washington DC, and the Mid-Atlantic region. Classes, workshop, and institutes for people who dance to make a living, people who dance to make a better life, and people who have never danced before. Local and national projects that engage individuals, institutions and communities in making and performing dances. Liz Lerman Dance Exchange pursues a broad definition of dance as a multi- disciplinary art form that encompasses movement, music, imagery, and the spoken word. Throughout its programs, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange builds an accessible body of knowledge and makes meaningful connections between people and art. www.danceexchange.org
The mission of the Montgomery County Department of Recreation is to provide high quality, diverse, and accessible programs, services and facilities that enhance the quality of life for all ages, cultures, and abilities. Operating Principals: In support of the mission the Department will readily serve the community by providing: Leisure activities that enhance skills, health and self esteem Activities that incorporate current leisure trends and population demographics Ways to stimulate growth in knowledge through leisure experiences Opportunities to build sense of community A network of services linking the community through collaboration and partnerships Safe havens where participants feel welcome. Fun for all. Operating Objectives: TO GIVE The Department will continuously strive for optimal participant experiences. Teamwork: essential to achieve success for our staff, our programs, our families, and our community. Objectivity: We will maintain a positive approach to all challenges we face. Growth: Change will be embraced, and used to expand our opportunities. Imagination: We will cultivate new ideas into exciting programs and services. Value: We will understand and appreciate the wealth of diversity of our community. Excellence: We will meet our participant's expectation of quality and performance. www.montgomerycountymd.gov
Program outcomes include: Developing cooking skills Developing photography skills Improved self-esteem Improved relationship with family/pro-social adults (including senior adults) Healthy lifestyle choices and behaviors Demonstrated leadership skills Strengthened family involvement Program assessment consists of 5 major components: 1) Trawick Partners Collaboration Evaluation 2) Youth Pre/Post Evaluation 3) Youth Mid-Module Evaluation 4) Staff Observation Evaluation 5) Post-Program Interviews with: A. Parents B. Child Welfare Workers, Therapists, or Guidance Counselors
Conduct Ground rules for behavior will be presented to participants at the Teambuilding Kickoff Collaboration will be encouraged and empowerment will be a focus, as participants will be given the opportunity for input into developing behavioral rules and expectations Attendance Attendance policies are being developed to help increase participation and consistency for participants, and increase overall chances of program success Occasional absences are expected and absence due to illness will be encouraged (e.g. colds, flu) Weather L.E.A.P. will follow inclement weather cancellations guidelines set forth by Montgomery County Public School system for Saturday programs
So far L.E.A.P. participants have reported having the following conditions: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Autism Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) Tourette’s Disorder (TD) It is important that program staff are aware of these conditions and how they may impact participants.
Description ADHD is a common condition that affects both children and adults. Prevalence: The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 3% to 5% of children have ADHD. Some experts, though, says ADHD may occurs in 8% to 10% of school age children. Experts also question whether kids really outgrow ADHD. Children with ADHD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating. They can't seem to follow directions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive, not stopping to think before they act. These behaviors are generally common in children. But they occur more often than usual and are more severe in a child with ADHD. The behaviors that are common with ADHD interfere with a child's ability to function at school and at home. Symptoms Symptoms of ADHD in children are generally grouped into 3 categories: Inattention: is easily distracted does not follow directions or finish tasks does not appear to be listening when someone is speaking does not pay attention and makes careless mistakes is forgetful about daily activities has problems organizing daily tasks avoids or dislikes activities that require sitting still or a sustained effort often loses things, including personal items has a tendency to daydream Hyperactivity: often squirms, fidgets, or bounces when sitting does not stay seated as expected has difficulty playing quietly is always moving, such as running or climbing on things (In teens and adults, this is more commonly described as a sense of restlessness) talks excessively Impulsivity: has difficulty waiting for his or her turn blurts out answers before the question has been completed often interrupts others Source: www. webmd.com
Description Autism is a brain disorder that often makes it hard to communicate with and relate to others. With autism, the different areas of the brain fail to work together. Prevalence: Autism spectrum disorders affect as many as 1 in 150 American children. Types of autism include autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and Asperger's syndrome. The cause of autism is not known. High-functioning autism is at one end of the ASD spectrum. Signs and symptoms are less severe than with other forms of autism. In fact, a person with high-functioning autism usually has average or above average intelligence. The differences from other forms of autism have led many psychiatrists to consider high-functioning autism as similar to or the same as Asperger's syndrome. Whether it's labeled high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome, coping with this condition presents daily challenges -- for those who have it and for their family and friends. Symptoms People with high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome do not have the delayed language development that's typically found in people with autism. In addition, people with high-functioning autism have average or above average intelligence. However, they may show other behaviors and signs similar to what's seen with other types of autism: delay in motor skills lack of skill in interacting with others little understanding of the abstract uses of language, such as humor or give-and-take in a conversation obsessive interest in specific items or information strong reactions to textures, smells, sounds, sights, or other stimuli that others might not even notice, such as a flickering light Unlike people with other forms of autism, people with high-functioning autism want to be involved with others. They simply don't know how to go about it. They may not be able to understand others' emotions. They may not read facial expressions or body language well. As a result, they may be teased and often feel like social outcasts. The unwanted social isolation can lead to anxiety and depression. Source: www. webmd.com
Description Tourette's disorder (TD) is a neurological condition that usually begins in childhood. It causes a child to make sounds or words (vocal tics) and body movements (motor tics) that are beyond his or her control. Motor tics usually begin between ages 2 – 8. Vocal tics can begin as early as age 2, but they usually start a few years after motor tics. Tics generally are at their worst about age 12. In most children, tics go away or decrease quite a bit in the teen years. But tics can continue into adulthood. The effect tics have on children varies. Some children have mild tics that have a small impact on their lives. But even mild or infrequent tics may affect your child's self-esteem and relationships with friends and family. Severe and frequent tics may require treatment, including medicine and counseling. Although a child's tics may seem minor, they may interfere with the child's ability to learn and can cause embarrassment. It is important to remember that: Tics are not a sign of low intelligence and do not affect intelligence. The severity of your child's tics is not a good indicator of how well he or she will perform in school or in social situations. How well your child can cope with tics can be helped by a supportive home, school, and community environment. Symptoms Most children with TD have unique types and patterns of vocal and motor tics. These tics may: Be a slight twitching of the eyes, jerking of the neck, coughing or throat-clearing, or a series of movements and sounds. Occur in bursts of movement (motor) or sounds (vocal). Come and go (wax and wane) over a period of weeks and months and may also change from one type to another. Your child's tics may get more severe and occur more often, and then gradually get better. A common stereotype of people with TD is that they all have uncontrollable outbursts of cursing or obscene or sexual behavior. These types of complex tics are not required for a diagnosis of TD. Even though these types of tics may seem routine for TD from what you see on TV and in movies, most children and teens with TD do not have these symptoms. Source: www. webmd.com
Description Trauma An event that involves actual or threatened death, serious injury, or threat to physical or psychological integrity of self or other. PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that's triggered by a traumatic event. You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when you experience or witness an event that causes intense fear, helplessness or horror. Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is among only a few mental disorders that are triggered by a disturbing outside event. Research has shown that PTSD changes the biology of the brain. Developing brains (in children exposed to trauma before age 5) are particularly vulnerable to the effects of trauma and the development of PTSD. (e.g. orphanage neglect) Symptoms Reliving the event through dreams (nightmares) or while awake (flashbacks) or sleep disturbances (e.g. bedwetting) Being unable to feel or express emotions toward family, friends, and loved ones (emotional numbness) Avoiding any reminders of the event. Being easily angered or aroused, "on edge," or easily startled (hyperarousal) Triggers remind child of the trauma Fearfulness Numbing of responsiveness Isolation Night terrors Avoidance of reminders of trauma Hyper-arousal Difficultly concentrating Anxiety Emotional detachment Aggressiveness Sources: www.children.webmd.com; Traumatized Children: Treatment and Intervention Strategies for Home, School, & Clinical Settings (Katharine Leslie, Ph.D., CFLE); www.mayoclinic.com
Description Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a group of hereditary connective tissue disorders characterized by defects of the major structural protein in the body (collagen). Due to defects of collagen, primary EDS symptoms and findings include abnormally flexible, loose joints that may easily become dislocated; unusually loose, thin, stretchy (elastic) skin; and excessive fragility of the skin, blood vessels, and other bodily tissues and membranes. Symptoms Clinical manifestations of EDS are most often joint and skin related and may include: Joints: joint hypermobility; loose/unstable joints which are prone to frequent dislocations; joint pain, etc. Skin: soft velvetâ-like skin; variable skin hyper-extensibility; fragile skin that tears or bruises easily (bruising may be severe), etc. Sources: www.children.webmd.com; www.ednf.org
Mood Stabilizers Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys shows that this class of drugs is most commonly used in for youths below age 20 to treat the following conditions: Disruptive behavior disorders (e.g. ADHD) Mood disorders (e.g. bipolar disorder, depression) Psychotic disorders (e.g. schizophrenia) Known medication uses among L.E.A.P. participants include Seroquel and Zyprexa Stimulants Stimulant drugs are the most commonly used treatment for ADHD. Stimulants are an effective way of managing ADHD symptoms such as short attention span, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. May be used alone or in combination with behavior therapy. For someone with ADHD, stimulants regulate impulsive behavior and improve attention span and focus by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, which help transmit signals between nerves. Known medication uses among L.E.A.P. participants include Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse Source: www.children.webmd.com
Program staff should aim to create a safe, warm environment for L.E.A.P. participants in which they feel comfortable being themselves and sharing personal information and stories where appropriate. Staff are encouraged to: Listen non-judgmentally Give reassurance if youth are unsure of their ability to participate in activities or learn new skills In the event of risk situations, program staff should immediately consult with the Program Coordinator and Program Assistant. These may include: Clear expressions of thoughts that are indicative of potential harm to self or others Disclosure or signs of abuse or neglect Medical information and emergency contact information can be found immediately in the L.E.A.P. travel binder!