VisionQuest is a national network of residential mental health, substance abuse and foster care facilities that have been providing support and guidance for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 21 for over 40 years. VisionQuest’s founder, Bob Burton, saw that most methods for behavioral intervention during the 1960s and 1970s were under-serving a diverse group of at-risk youth requiring support and intervention. He began working with Crow Indians in Montana as a VISTA volunteer and imagined new ways to help troubled youth.
In 1973, VisionQuest began its first program in Arizona with wilderness components and chemical dependency treatment. Within three years, the program blossomed and multiplied, and now has outposts in Arizona, Maryland, Florida, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Texas. All treatment programs combine evidence-based methods of treatment with traditional Native American practices to treat clients mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The Lee Preparatory Academy at South Penn provides a boarding school with integrated substance abuse treatment services for young men in Pennsylvania.
Accommodations and Food
The academy building is in Franklin, Pennsylvania in the heart of a busy city center. With housing and treatment in the same building, accommodations at Lee Prep are similar to a dormitory. A total of 32 beds are available for the boys, with two divided floors that feature housing, a cafeteria and treatment rooms. Clients sleep four per room in bunk beds with linens provided. Bathrooms and showers are shared. Clients are responsible for keeping their space clean and tidy, and chores are divided amongst clients so they learn life skills.
The cafeteria serves healthy-eating options as well as general comfort food. No caffeine is served and sugar is kept to a minimum. Lee Prep has an indoor exercise room as well as a media space for TV. The media room also doubles as a therapy room. TV use is monitored and allowed only during approved hours.
Treatment and Staff
All services at Lee Prep are implemented by an all-male staff who are credentialled to work with children and adolescents. Before admission, all clients are brought in for an evaluation and to determine recovery and life goals. The team is headed by a board-certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Practitioners utilize a range of methods to help clients including behavior modification, utilizes evidence-based practices and their own “Sanctuary Model.” Length of time spent in the program depends on the client and their progression towards their goals. Average length of time is six months to beyond a school year.
The Sanctuary Model includes anger management therapy implemented as Aggression Replacement Training (ART) as well as trauma-informed care). Clients may come with behavioral issues, chemical dependency or co-occurring disorders, and the Sanctuary Model addresses behaviors and provides clients with a safe space to fully express themselves and identify root causes. Psychoeducation is incorporated so clients are informed and able to look objectively at their lives.
The goal of the clinical staff is to provide integrated treatment in a way that prepares the boys to return home and become productive members of society. Career development skills, job skills and education are emphasized.
Clients attend an adapted school alternative and daily group therapy. Groups and individual sessions are focused on chemical dependency and use CBT techniques. Social skills and life skills are developed as well as relapse prevention skills.
Lee Prep also offers job training to encourage readiness for the world when they complete their time in the program. Guidance for college-level education is also available.
Lee Prep South Penn provides young men an opportunity to turn their lives around both academically and behaviorally. While the primary method of treatment is behavior modification, the facility does offer chemical dependency treatment using evidence based methods and internally developed recovery progrms. Goal development and life skills cultivation help steer young men towards success following completion of the program.
Lee Prep South Penn
5201 Old Yord Rd
Philadelphia, PA 19141
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