cheerful latin family hugging and looking at camera during lunch at home
News and Updates

National Hispanic Heritage Month

While it’s always important to remember the things that unite us all, it is likewise vital to recognize the importance of one’s heritage. This month is Hispanic Heritage Month, a month that celebrates the heritage of one of the fastest-growing segments of the American population and allows us to focus on those who have made extraordinary contributions to the country as a whole.

Learn & Embrace the Importance of Hispanic Heritage

This month gives those of Hispanic heritage a chance to look back at the past and take a moment to celebrate how vital their heritage has been to their own lives. It’s also an amazing chance for those who are not necessarily of Hispanic heritage to stop and think about all the ways that the culture of the country has been enriched by the traditions, beliefs, and actions of those of Hispanic heritage.

This month presents a unique chance to broaden our view of how we look at our own culture, pointing out those things that would be impossible without the diverse nature of the nation. From the very vocabulary we use to the fashions we wear and the food we eat, individuals of Hispanic heritage have made a huge impact on the way we all live our lives. For those who themselves have this heritage, though, it’s important to remember that these are not simple additions to their way of life – it’s an important part of who they are and the history of their families.

Whether you have Hispanic ancestry or you simply want to acknowledge the importance of Hispanic heritage in the United States, this month will give you plenty of chances to do so. Whether you choose to celebrate, research, or just acknowledge the impact of individuals, taking the time to appreciate the amazing things that are only possible because of the diversity present in the nation can give you a unique chance to grow and learn. No matter who you are, taking the time to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month can enrich your life and leave you with a better understanding of the world around you.

Close-up portrait of a sad young man lying on the bench in the p
News and Updates

Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide is something that touches us all. From those who have had suicidal ideation to those who have lost friends or family members, it’s hard not to see ways in which the phenomenon has become a significant part of modern life. That’s why it is so important to take the time to talk about Suicide Prevention Month and the steps that can be taken to protect those who are the most vulnerable, not just now, but year-round.

Take Steps to Understand Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Month is designed to shine a spotlight not just on the ongoing suicide epidemic, but on the resources and methods that can help prevent it from taking lives. From workshops and books to counseling and residential treatment programs, these resources are invaluable for saving lives. But, unfortunately, many of those who are at their lowest and feel like they have nowhere left to turn simply might not be aware of the resources that are available to them.

It’s vital that even those who have not had their lives impacted by a suicide or suicide attempt take the time to understand what can be done to help those who feel like they have nowhere to which they can turn. Knowing the numbers to call or resources to tap can help many get the help they need. Rather than trying to villainize those who take their own lives or to somehow insist that individuals can power through suicidal ideation on their own, realizing that suicide is a societal issue that requires a societal approach really is the way forward that can make the most change for the most significant number of people.

Whether you have struggled with suicidal thoughts or you simply want to ensure that you know what to do if someone in your life is considering committing suicide, the programs spotlighted this month and the outreach performed can give you the knowledge that you need to offer an alternative. Sometimes simply knowing that there is help out there can be the necessary first step in helping an individual in crisis find a way to stay safe during a trying time.

Family Psychotherapy. African American Couple Listening To Counselor's Advices During Therapy Session
News and Updates

Discussing Intervention with a Teen

As a parent or guardian, it can be difficult to determine exactly how to start the conversation about treatment options with a teen. Not only do you broach a subject that’s difficult at best, but you may be looking at a situation that will generate a significant amount of pushback from the person who needs help the most. Learning how to start the conversation is often the best way to gain the confidence you need to move forward.

The Steps to Effective Interventions

It’s important to start by doing your research. There are necessarily going to be questions about what intervention looks like, how long your teen might need to be in a program, and other related factors. The more you know, the more you will be able to answer honestly. With that said, you also need to admit that you don’t have all of the answers so that you can honestly tell your teen what you know and what you do not.

From there, you need to think about the conversation itself. You’re doing this out of a concern for your teen, after all, and the conversation needs to center around him or her. A dialog is best, of course, but it’s not always a guarantee in these situations. Instead, you need to be able to calmly and honestly set out your concerns and your reasoning for choosing this particular intervention for the teen in your life. Centering things on your care for him or her may not make the conversation easier, but it may help you to avoid a more heated confrontation.

Finally, you’ll want to do what you can to get buy-in from the teen if possible. While it’s not a given in every situation, teens that go into intervention with the right mindset will usually have an easier time accepting the necessity of any program. If you can talk to your teen out of a place of love and concern while making sure to answer any of his or her questions as honestly as you can, you may be able to take the next steps as a team rather than in an adversarial relationship.

Teenage Boy With Problem Talking With Counselor At Home
News and Updates

How to Prepare for Counseling

Counseling can be an incredibly useful experience for those who are in the process of recovering from trauma or addiction. It can also be a useful process for anyone who is looking to sort through personal issues or who simply feels like they need help moving forward in their lives. With that said, it can be difficult to speak to a counselor for the first time, especially if you’re going in without outside supports. That’s why it’s vital to have a plan to prepare for your first counseling session.

Steps Toward Counseling

The first step to take is to think about the reason why you are attending counseling. For some, those reasons will be crystal clear from the first moment. For others, though, it will take a bit of digging to figure out why you are looking for help. It’s entirely appropriate to go to counseling simply because you’re not sure what else to do because you want to get your life on track, but it never hurts to spend a bit of time interrogating your reasoning for speaking with a counselor.

The next step is to prepare yourself for what an actual counseling session is like. While there are many depictions of counseling in media, most of them are quite inaccurate. It might be useful for you to call the counseling office to find out what to expect for your first session. In some cases, you’ll simply complete some minor intake paperwork and spend a bit of time on introductions. In other cases, you might get right to work. Knowing what comes next can calm your nerves and better prepare you for what comes next.

No matter what you do, you should also remember that meeting with a counselor is ultimately your choice. You have the power in this situation, so you are taking a positive step to improve your own life. If you are ready to speak with someone about the problems that you are encountering, you should give yourself credit for taking an action that will ultimately give you more options as to how you will move forward to a better future.

News and Updates

Post Covid Activity

As the world faced an unexpected halt as a result of the pandemic, clients have been faced with a wall of adversity in day-to-day activities. Clients’ normal schedules and activities were changed due to rules and mandates from the CDC and Public Health Departments to help keep our clients protected and not come in contact with the infectious virus COVID-19.

At Alpha Connection we know that activities are extremely important to one’s well-being and mental health and if not able to do normal everyday activities it can negatively affect the clients’ mental health and create depressive and isolated behavior. As the world is opening up and vaccines are readily available we plan to keep our clients active and engaged in therapeutic outdoor activities and outings with protective plans in place.

Alpha Connection will do everything we can possibly do to keep our clients safe and protected during these outings. Our team emphasizes that this pandemic is NOT over and hundreds of Americans continue to catch this virus daily. We all need to do our part to stand up and continue the fight against COVID-19 by wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

– Cam Wilson

News and Updates

Recovery as an Ongoing Process

One of the most important steps that an individual can take to recover from addiction or trauma is to go through the process of recovery. While it’s incredibly important for individuals to seek out the services that they need in order to better deal with the issues in their lives, it’s also important for their friends and family members to understand that recovery is a process that doesn’t necessarily end just because an individual leaves a residential treatment facility.

Treatment is One Step of the Healing Process

When an individual leaves treatment, he or she will be in a unique position. For what might be the first time in his or her life, he or she will likely have the tools necessary to take control of what’s going on around him or her and to steer his or her life in a positive direction. This does not, however, mean that the individual in recovery has magically been ‘cured.’ Instead, he or she almost certainly realizes that he or she is on a lifelong journey to healing and recovery.

It is vital that friends and family members realize that leaving treatment doesn’t necessarily mean that the healing process is over. One’s expectations should be set to promote further change and growth rather than to simply act as if a problem has been solved. Remember, making it through treatment is an important step in recovery, but it’s also the first step that really returns agency to the lives of those who have made it through such a process.

Finding the Tools to Promote Long-Term Success

It’s also important to remember that while recovery is an ongoing process, that process really does need to start with a good treatment program. Giving individuals the tools that they need to succeed in the real world is a vital part of preventing relapses into problem behaviors and an even more important tool for learning how to get back on track when problems occur. Without a proper recovery program, it’s difficult for many to understand that there are no quick fixes for what ails them and few chances to speed up a process that can take a lifetime.

Whether you’re in recovery yourself or helping a friend or family member through the process, it’s important to remember that recovery takes time, effort, and dedication. With the right help, though, it is a realistic goal.

News and Updates

Understanding National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month, which means that a light is being shined on those children and adults who have made their way through the foster care system. Though this system is routinely criticized, the truth is that it also functions as an absolutely vital lifeline for children who often find themselves in situations that are unhealthy or unsafe.

Providing Safe Environments & Reconciliation

While foster care may have a reputation for separating families, the truth is that it is largely designed with reconciliation in mind. In fact, the goal for most children who go into the system is to reunify them with their families once their parents or guardians are able to provide a safe and nurturing environment for them. For others, though, the point of foster care is to help those children find safe environments that will allow them to grow in ways that their birth homes never could.

Supporting Children in the Foster Care System

National Foster Care Month also serves as a reminder that there are many children and adults who have gone through the system and still require support today. Whether their experiences in the system or before entering it have left them with trauma is irrelevant – what matters is that the trauma certainly exists and that many of those in the system still have issues coping with those traumas. As such, this month represents a chance to acknowledge the personal hardships that are all-too-often results of being in this system.

Whether you’re looking at children who are temporarily in foster care or those who spend many years in the foster system, it’s important to remember what a vital role foster care plays in child welfare. Though the experience can be traumatic for many, it’s still one that is designed to ensure that every child is given a chance to grow up in a place that’s designed with their welfare in mind.

News and Updates

Cinco De Mayo: Fun, Food and Fiesta

You might hear about Cinco de Mayo parties. But even though celebrations of Cinco de Mayo (which translates to the Fifth of May) originated in Mexico, the day is more popular in the United States!

We at Alpha Connection Youth & Family Services, being a Culturally Diverse Organization educate and celebrate this day of importance.

On Cinco de Mayo, we remember the Battle of Puebla, fought on May 5, 1862. On that day, Mexicans won an important battle against the French army, which was invading Mexico.

France had a long history of interfering in Mexico's affairs, dating back to the famous Pastry War of 1838. In 1862, Mexico was having big problems and owed money to other countries, mainly France. France invaded Mexico to try and get their money.

This battle is famous because the Mexicans overcame tremendous odds and won!  The French Army outnumbered the Mexican Army Significantly. The French had more advanced weapons and were better trained. The French had already beaten the Mexican Army a few times as they made their way to the city of Puebla, from which they planned to go to Mexico City. No one thought the Mexican Army was going to win the battle…except maybe the Mexicans!

So today we join in unison with our Mexican brothers and Sisters and celebrate with Food, Fun, and fiesta The outstanding victory of the Mexican people at the Battle of Puebla.

– Barron Wilson, CEO

News and Updates

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time when eyes turn towards an incredibly important topic in order to not only shed light on a number of ongoing issues, but to bring to light the work that’s being done to help aid children and families alike who have suffered from this kind of abuse. While Child Abuse is certainly something that remains in the popular consciousness year-round, taking the time to shine a spotlight on it can only help those who have been victims of abuse.

Understanding the Realities of Child Abuse

Child abuse is, sadly, a topic that covers more ground than most might imagine. Not only must one come to terms with the terror that’s often part and parcel of physical abuse, but there’s also a need to understand the role that other types of abuse play in causing harm. A major part of this month’s focus on child abuse is the attempt to get past the myths of child abuse and to pull the very real issues experienced by many families into the public eye.

Ensuring that the cycle of abuse can eventually be broken

It’s likewise important to remember that Child Abuse Prevention Month is about more than just education. In many ways, it’s about making sure that resources are advertised and made available for those who are either currently dealing with abuse or who are otherwise still grappling with problems caused by abuse that happened in the past. Making these resources available is a part of ensuring that the cycle of abuse can eventually be broken.

Alpha Connection is Here to Prevent, Educate, and Offer Aid

While the goal of National Child Abuse Prevention month is to prevent, educate, and offer aid during the month of April, the same resources are largely available throughout the year. Only by ensuring that all of these fantastic resources are put to use throughout the year can real progress be made in the fight against child abuse.

News and Updates

The Value of a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program

The right environment can be a make or break part of treatment for anyone. When it comes to adolescents, though, the environment is even more important. Though there are certainly many places that an adolescent can recover, many do recommend group homes. Though the experiences in a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program may vary, there’s no doubt that these programs show their value in specific ways.

Creating the Right Treatment Environment

First and foremost, Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program allow adolescents who are undergoing treatments some sense of normalcy. While the environment may not be what they were used to at home – and indeed, in many cases, should not be – the STRTP environment does provide the least restrictive possible environment for them. There is something to be said for getting to about one’s life in a setting that feels more like the real world, especially when undergoing any type of rehabilitation.

STRTP also help to provide adolescents with a sense of structure that can help them in the transition out of treatment. Though there are still rules in place and a kind of metaphorical scaffolding built around these homes that helps with recovery, it is a step towards returning to the real world. Those who are in group homes are given a chance to cope and grow in an environment that, while still therapeutic, may not provide the same kind of safety nets as a clinical facility.

Being able to gradually step back into their day-to-day lives

Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program are a fantastic tool for those young people who are in treatment. Though no two Short Term Residential Therapeutic Programs are the same, they all do well to further the mission of recovery. Whether those inside need the nurturing that can only come from a home-like environment or they need the safety that comes with being able to gradually step back into their day-to-day lives, these STRTP serve an important role in the recovery process.