Hagar House: A New Beginning
The Hoyleton Transitional Living Program for Pregnant and Parenting youth has been converted into a Transitional Living Program (TLP) for developmentally delayed females aged 17.5 to 21. The living arrangements for the clients in this program have also changed. Our clients now live in a duplex in a residential neighborhood with 3 young females living on each side. This home provides a much more comfortable living environment which aids in our client’s healing and growth.
The small number of clients in the home allows our staff to build strong relationships with each youth and creates opportunities to be more developmentally focused. While living in the TLP our youth learn how to cook, clean, manage ﬁnances, practice personal hygiene, self-care, social skills, and more. When youth leave the TLP they should possess the life skills they need to live in a CILA (Com-munity Integrated Living Arrangement), group home, or in their own place based on their level of independence.
The transition from the previous TLP facility to the new home-like setting hasn’t just been beneﬁcial for the youth, our staff appreciate it too. The Hagar House staff say they now feel more relaxed while at work and ﬁnd themselves having more fun and engaging in more positive interactions with the youth which leads to stronger connections and better outcomes. Hagar House Program Manager Pandora Harris said, “there have been a few bumps here and there, but everyone is moving towards their goals and we’re looking forward to experiencing that success.”
Pandora has been the program manager at Hagar House since September 2022. She has been very successful at building special relationships with each of the young women in her program. Pandora embraced the CARE model since the day it was introduced at Hoyleton and utilizes the care principles on a daily basis. Pandora’s leadership at Hagar House has also beneﬁted many of her staff who have learned the importance of the CARE principles as well as the ability to stay calm in tense situations from watching Pandora’s actions.
Pandora understands the importance of being trauma informed and approaches client and staff challenges with tender words of understanding and a gentle touch to acknowledge them and let them know she is there to help and support them. She has earned the respect of each of the young women living at Hagar House and they all affectionately refer to her as “Mama.” Pandora works hard every day at instilling conﬁdence and self-worth in the young women in her care at Hagar House and she makes sure she validates their feelings when they share stories about their lives. Pandora spends a lot of her time giving guidance to the youth at Hagar House about ﬁnances, the importance of school, friendships and relationships because most of these young women never had a parent or role model around to discuss these topics with them. Hagar House now looks like a family home on the outside and in many ways feels like one on the inside too.
Hoyleton CAREs About Our Clients and Team
By Stephanie Seaton, Director of Project Implementation
In 2017, we began implementing the CARE model, a comprehensive practice model that guides everything we do at Hoyleton. We are one of only 50 agencies nationally, and the only one serving youth in southern Illinois, that follows this model. It guides how we interact with the people we serve in the community and also our own goals and values and how we treat each other internally. It shapes every facet of our organization’s culture.
What is the CARE model?
The CARE model was developed at Cornell University and is rooted in six core principles:
Why CARE works
These principles have been applied agency-wide since the CARE model’s adoption, particularly when interacting with our youth, many of whom have a history of trauma, CARE has shifted how we think about disruptive youth by changing the conversation from “What is wrong with them?” to “What has happened to them?” It shifts from the behavior to the story behind the behavior, which allows for more focused conversation instead of reactionary measures. It can be easy to take certain behaviors personally, but recognizing that it’s coming from a place of trauma response not only makes conversations possible but humanizes clients in meaningful ways.
CARE has also given our organization a common language to speak with clients and each other. Our staff has a wide range of education levels in terms of social work, psychology, therapy and other backgrounds. What may seem like common language to one of those groups may be new to another because of its clinical nature. CARE helps keep conversations consistent and understandable for all people involved because it gives us a shared vocabulary rooted in understanding and trauma care.
CARE at Hoyleton
What’s amazing about the CARE model is that it spills into the overall work/life relationship of our team as well. Thinking in terms of events that inﬂuence behavior instead of behavior itself helps team members have more grace with one another. It helps us remember small gestures go a long way to show care and encourages us to think about what little things we can do for one another. People forget how embedded the CARE model is in our culture because of how second nature its principles come to us.
This is what a good practice model does: it embeds itself. It becomes so much a part of the culture that CARE becomes the norm. CARE and its principles are so powerful because it strengthens the possibility for empathy. This is what Hoyleton is all about when it comes to our interactions with clients and each other.
Learn more about our approach to CARE by visiting our approach page.
Community Mental Health Care that Reaches All
In 2020, we established a specific program to reach out to those in our community that are in need of mental health care. Here at Hoyleton, we explored the need and importance of access to qualified mental health professionals within the Southern Illinois community. It was with the information gathered and understanding, a community resource for mental health care access was essential and the FORWARD Counseling Care by Hoyleton initiative was established.
Services provided by FORWARD are for children, adults, couples, groups, school districts, community outreach, and businesses which would like to offer employees a safe space to seek healthy mental health care.
FORWARD Counseling Care is comprised of several services that fall under different funding sources. Programs are funded by multiple sources including the State of Illinois, private grants, and private funding. Some of Hoyleton’s traditional services now encompassed by FORWARD continue to include:
School-based Partnership Programs, primarily in the East St. Louis School district
The Wraparound Program sponsored by DCFS
The Victims of Crime Act
Southern Illinois Violence Prevention Program
Mental Health First Aid
Three new evidence-based practices are now being offered; Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Child Parent Psychotherapy, and the Nurturing Parent Program. All programs managed by FORWARD are built on the model of healing oneself from a holistic approach.
Our highly trained therapists want to help you be the best you, that God has intended you to be.
If you, or a loved one are uncertain where to get qualified mental health care, reach out to a FORWARD team member today at 618.688.7040. When you reach out, you will receive a call from a member of the FORWARD staff within 24-48 hours.
Learn more about the FORWARD by Hoyleton program at forwardbyhoyleton.org. To best serve the community, our website is available for both our English and LatinX speaking friends.