Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services was established in 1906 and is a non profit agency that serves over 500 clients per day. For boys who are between the ages of 12 and 19, there is a residential programs on the main campus in Highland Park of Los Angeles. These programs are individualized and highly structured with the intent to create a solid and safe environment for the young clients while teaching them responsibility and helping them to experience positive social encounters. Programming within the residential setting incorporates group and individual therapy, expressive and holistic approaches, medication management for dual diagnosis issues and targeted substance abuse treatment.
Accommodations and Food
The main campus serves up to 85 boys, who reside in either one of four dorms or three independent living units. The independent living program is for clients who are a bit older, 16 and a half to 19, who are preparing to leave the program. They live in apartments that are on campus but offer a bit more privacy and less structure than the dorms.
The younger clients have all their meals prepared for them on site and eat together in a community dining room. The independent living program incorporates meal planning and cooking. This program also requires them to do their own laundry, and provides an on site washer and dryer for these purposes.
Treatment and Staff
Therapy is generally evidence-based using trauma-informed CBT methods but it also implements 12-step principles. There are on-site and off-site AA and NA meetings that clients attend regularly, and there are Al-Anon meetings offered for family members as well.
Each client has a specific treatment plan that is tailored to them to include medical and dental services and education. Most of the residents attend school at the private charter school on campus. There are daily group sessions and at least one individual session per week. There are relapse prevention and intervention groups, and learning how to deal with triggers and obtaining new coping skills. There are also written assignments and workbook studies that are mandatory.
The treatment staff includes CADCs, youth care counselors, LCSWs, CDCs, nurses, teachers and psychiatrists.
There are a number of expressive therapeutic activities offered. Art and music therapy are staples of these programs, which include a songwriting group, lyric discussion group, rhythm and drumming group and a choir. There are also photography classes, art and journaling classes, meditation, relaxation, breathing and yoga.
Several recreational opportunities are provided on and off grounds as well. Group sports like basketball, volleyball, soccer and softball are played. Clients have access to a weight room and game area, and there are bingo and movie nights, museum trips, pottery classes, and other culturally enriching experiential field trips.
For family members in the substance abuse track, there are weekly multi family meetings on site.
The boys residential treatment program is the main program of Optimist, and provides a very caring and safe environment for their clients. With the focus on making sure each individual is heard and acknowledged as opposed to being lumped into one category of client makes for a trustworthy atmosphere where clients are given the space to discover who they are as people and learn the necessary skills they’ll need once they leave this facility and venture out into the world on their own.
Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services
6957 N. Figueroa St. Box 41-1076
Los Angeles, CA 90041-1076
Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services Cost: State funded. Reach Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services by phone at (323) 443-3175. Find Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services on Facebook
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