Category: News and Updates

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.

News and Updates

The Importance of Donations for a Non-Profit

It’s fair to say that donations are the life-blood of the non-profit world. While there are certainly other forms of funding that can be and often are secured, the truth is that most non-profits place a great deal of emphasis on donations even when other forms of income are available. This isn’t because soliciting donations is easy or because they are always a better form of funding than other funding methods, but because of how donations tend to help non-profits fulfill their goals.

Connecting Non-Profits and the Community

A donation is more than just a monetary gift. In most circumstances, a donation is a direct tie of purpose between an individual or business in a community and the non-profit. When non-profits solicit donations, they’re looking for more than just a check; in most cases, these non-profits are looking for methods to ensure that they are meeting an important goal of the community at large. When there is a complete lack of interest in donations, a non-profit must either conclude that there is something about their message that is not being communicated properly or that their reason for existence is not one championed by the broader community.

Help them to stay connected to the very people who they are trying to serve

Donations work not only as a funding source, but also as a way for a non-profit to measure that reception of its message in a broader context. Without being able to see the hard numbers that come in from a donation drive, it can be difficult for a non-profit to check to see if its messaging is still on point. As such, donations can be thought of as a powerful metric for helping non-profits to ensure that they are still engaging with the community in ways that not only help them to stay financially afloat, but that also help them to stay connected to the very people who they are trying to serve.

News and Updates

How Important is a Good Program for Your Child

Dealing with recovery is never an easy process. It can, however, be facilitated a bit more easily when individuals have access to the right kind of programs. If you have a child who is in need of treatment, it’s vital that he or she has access to the right kind of recovery options. Doing so not only helps to ease recovery, but it may also play a vital role in helping your child to find a way to better integrate his or her experiences back into his or her life.

Help keep your child’s recovery on track

A good treatment program is vital because it’s the foundation for how your child will recover. Everything about the program, from the atmosphere of the location to the demeanor of the professionals who work there, will have an impact on how your child perceives his or her recovery. Given that your child is almost certainly in a fragile state at the time, it makes sense that a program designed to effectively help him or her would be necessary to help keep your child’s recovery on track.

Traits of a Good Recovery Program

With that said, a good program does more than help your child while he or she is present for recovery or treatment. Instead, it helps to instill a sense of value and commitment that can last after your child goes home. When your child is in the right program, he or she will look at the lessons that he or she learns there as fundamental for recovery. Rather than thinking of the program as a punishment or a memory best left in the past, a positive program experience will become a foundation on which your child can build a stronger future.

A positive program experience will become a foundation

The right program for your child is a must. Not only will it help with recovery, but it will also help with your child as he or she moves back into a new normal. Though finding the right fit for any given child can certainly be difficult, taking the time to do so will have a positive impact on your child’s life.

News and Updates

Alpha Connection Earns Three Year CARF Accreditation

Apple Valley, CA – Slowly but surely, the State of California has initiated a new regulation that all behavioral health rehabilitation organizations in the state must be approved by an accreditation agency (CARF or TJC) to continue operation. In January of 2018, Alpha Connection Youth and Family Services (ACYFS) began the process of seeking this accreditation, and received a three-year award in September 2018.

“Our CEO, Barron Wilson, is big on constantly improving and finetuning our program, as a growth tool,” says Michelle Dutto, representative for ACYFS. CARF comes in and shows how to measure our success, and that’s valuable.”

Dutto notes that ACYFS, a residential counseling center for adolescents in crisis situations, had many policies and procedures in place – but had to coordinate to make sure that implementation was consistent across the board at all facilities, and each of the four facilities on campus was in line with each other. Accreditation means that the organization is following specific, measurable quality standards and provides a framework for continuous improvement.

ACYFS is psychosocial focused, not only on the clinical side, but for reintegrating youth into society. The facility works with children that are disturbed, from needing drug rehabilitation to those on probation. Its population comes from all over the state, giving care to abused and neglected individuals as well. Initiated in 1988, ACYFS admits a diverse population – with Four (4) full time residential Facilities for girls and boys, for a total of 24 clients.

“We are very creative and innovative, and one of our biggest strengths is understanding that culture is changing rapidly,” states Dutto, “The staff understands and is very competent.” Dutto herself has worked in several different capacities – from one-on-one admin, to program therapist, in the community and program development, to CARF program coordinator with the recent accreditation.

Aside from it being a mandatory process, accreditation will encourage agencies to look to CARF accreditation as a process for growth, as opposed to a regulation to take care of. “It’s an opportunity to fine tune and tweak your program and or facility,” adds Dutto.

The mission statement of Alpha Connection is: To promote and aid adolescent youth to achieve maximum development by enhancing their potential to become self-sufficient and responsible adults through education, mental health, psychosocial rehabilitation and  vocational training. Additional by equipping them with necessary tools to increase their potential to navigate society successfully. More information can be found at http://www.alphaconnection.org.

CARF is an independent, non-profit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. For more information about the accreditation process, please visit the CARF website at www.carf.org.