The mission of Project Six/The Commons is to assist young people in gaining the comprehensive skills necessary to successfully reintegrate into their local school, community and family home.
Project Six/The Commons utilizes a relationship-based treatment model, with evidence-based practice at its core. Its treatment philosophy promotes progress by teaching residents how to develop age-appropriate interpersonal skills that contribute to overall social-emotional, behavioral, and academic improvement. A safe, containing and caring environment focuses on positive ways to engage in relationships. The program is designed to support adolescents by recognizing, rewarding and building upon their strengths while helping them control and eliminate negative behaviors that interfere with learning and leading healthy, productive and satisfying lives.
Residents are provided with consistent feedback about their behavior to encourage good choices and personal responsibility. The treatment model is structured to encourage appropriate expression of feelings, effective communication and community responsibility through providing opportunities to practice new, more appropriate ways of responding to their environment. Treatment plans are individualized to the needs of each resident, focusing on skill development and behavior reduction, through the use of a variety of evidence-based interventions. Residents are treated in a respectful manner regardless of their behavior. Discipline is consistent and fair, and focuses on natural and logical consequences.
Project Six/The Commons serves male and female adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17. Our program is designed to treat adolescents with a variety of diagnoses and behaviors, including Asperger’s Disorder, autism spectrum disorder, mood and anxiety disorders, learning disabilities and emotional and behavioral challenges.
Like most typical teenagers, our residents demonstrate intelligence, creativity, kindness, resourcefulness, resilience, exploration of identity, desire for independence, sense of humor, energy, passion and an eagerness to make connections.
Unlike most typical adolescents, our residents struggle with significant social-skills deficits and mental health and emotional regulation challenges that make it difficult for them to manage daily life stressors and frustrations. This emotional dysregulation may lead to a variety of challenging behaviors, including:
- School refusal
- Executive functioning deficits
- Poor hygiene
- Social skills deficits
- Verbal and physical aggression
- Disrespectful behavior
Despite each youth’s individual challenge, Project Six/The Commons strives to create an environment fostering healing, growth and a sense of belonging.
Project Six/The Commons is a 24-hour residential treatment program that incorporates special education, mental-health support, family support, specialized groups and recreational programming into the residential treatment milieu. Comprehensive support services offered include:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Social skills training
- Psychiatric evaluation
- Medication management
- Community-based instruction
- Academic tutoring
- Self-care and daily living groups
- Independent living skills program
- Vocational exploration
- Parent support & training
In addition to specialized services and interventions, the program houses an on-site kitchen, art room, music room, workout room, gym, access to computers and an outside recreation area.
Project Six/The Commons recognizes the importance of recreation and natural-environment learning opportunities, and integrates several recreational activities and community outings into the weekly schedule. Recreational groups and activities may include:
- Dramatic expression
- Sports and games
- Outings to museums
- Trips to the beach
- Horseback riding
- Dinner Night Out
- Healthy living
Upon admission to Project Six/The Commons, each resident is assigned an Advisor. This provides the opportunity for staff to deepen and enhance relationships with specific residents and provides more individualized attention and enrichment. Advisors are full-time Residential Counselors who meet regularly with each of their advisees, focusing on a variety of issues, including:
- Identifying and addressing specific areas of need for each resident (e.g. special dietary needs, health and fitness goals, academic/homework assistance, etc.)
- Identifying and addressing cultural and religious interests and needs
- Providing support and motivation to work towards goals
- Providing support and skill development related to Independent Living Skills modules and daily living skills (e.g. room care, hygiene, laundry, appropriate dress, money management, etc.)
- Assisting residents to engage in constructive problem-solving with identifies issues and concerns
- Assisting residents to identify and develop special interests, skills and hobbies
- Identifying community supports, services and activities that may be of benefit to the resident
- Organizing and conducting specialized Advisor/Resident outings
The road leading to a residential program can often be an arduous one. Through a strong partnership between Project Six/The Commons, its residents, their families and school districts, the road leading home becomes a positive and productive one.
During the admissions process, residents are evaluated to determine which of The Help Group’s non-public schools will best meet their unique educational and emotional needs. Residents who historically failed to meet their academic potential are afforded the opportunity to thrive, realize newfound success and confidently re-enter their previous school.
With a low student-to-teacher ratio, The Help Group’s Village Glen, Bridgeport, Coldwater Canyon Prep and North Hills Prep utilize proven educational models and practices that recognize varying levels of skill, degrees of academic interest and a broad range of cognitive levels. The curriculum provides the knowledge and training students require for successful transition into less-restrictive educational environments.
For those who are college-bound, the schools offer an enriched and stimulating college preparatory program that fulfills the standards for entrance into four-year colleges and universities. College counselors assist the students and families in the process of identifying and applying to schools that meet each student’s particular needs. Additionally, The Help Group schools offer enriched programming including visual and performing arts, technology electives and a wide range of athletic opportunities. Students can participate in activities that mirror those at their local public schools.
On-going communication between The Help Group’s schools, the referring school district, classroom teachers and the residential staff, as well as the availability of study skills instruction, tutoring and academic enrichment, ensure a full integration of the educational program into the residential setting.
To ensure that residents successfully transition back into their school, home and community, a comprehensive family-focused treatment plan is created to address the challenges that originally brought the resident into the program. Within this plan, the family is an integral member of the team and participates in a broad range of services, programs and events, including family and group therapy, parent education and support, and special multifamily gatherings. Together, the therapist, resident and family develop a progressive visitation plan that may include on-site, off-site and home visitation. Weekends and extended holiday time serve as opportunities for the family to practice the skills learned in the program.
Project Six/The Commons utilizes a multidisciplinary treatment team, comprised of the resident’s family, primary therapist, psychiatrist (if applicable), teachers and residential advisor. Each resident’s treatment team meets 30 days after admission and every quarter thereafter to evaluate progress towards goals and ongoing challenges and concerns. The resident’s primary therapist prepares monthly treatment reports that get distributed to the resident’s school district and parents/caregivers. Additionally, Project Six/The Commons employs specialized staff to meet the comprehensive needs of its residents, including a Licensed Vocational Nurse, a Transitional Living Specialist, a Healthy Living Specialist and an Activities/Recreation Specialist.
For more information about Project Six / The Commons, please contact Kendra Sheppards at 818.267.2624 or Elin Bradley, Director of therapeutic schools and residential treatment at 818.947.2019.