The First Few Days
Connections happen quickly for any new resident when they arrive at Promise Village. Within a short period of time, the family gets a chance to meet the young man’s new roommates and is introduced to the Life Coaches that will be working with him. After introductions, the new resident will begin taking part in all of the day-to-day activities, including spending time getting to know all of the other guys. It is exciting for the other residents to have a new Promise Village “brother” and so everyone is eager to meet him. Because there will be plenty of new experiences and many things a new resident will be unfamiliar with, the Life Coaches make sure to give extra attention to acclimating them to all that Promise Village has to offer. In order to help the transition from one home to another go smoothly and to reinforce the importance of family involvement, we make sure that communication between the family and child happen often, especially during the first days.
The other young men at Promise Village do an exceptional job of extending the same friendly invitations to someone new as were extended to them when they first came. This only serves to support the feeling of coming into a warm environment where a new arrival can feel comfortable, at home, and safe.
After the first few days, a strong sense of what to expect on a day to day basis has been developed and a new resident has experienced individual therapy, group therapy, recreational therapy, animal therapy, and the milieu therapy. From these first experiences they will learn what to expect from a day in the life of a resident at Promise Village.
For the young men at Promise Village, learning begins much earlier than class does on school days. From the time they wake up to the time they go to bed at night they are in the most common teaching setting offered: the milieu therapy. The “milieu” is the positive, structured, teachable environment that our front line staff, the Life Coaches, create while they are on shift. The milieu is specifically designed to allow for “teachable moments” or, times where a Life Coach draws attention to an area where a resident can grow in, or has grown in. These teachable moments are how Life Coaches demonstrate to residents how to choose constructive solutions for their real-world problems. From the different team tasks in the morning such as straightening their rooms, cleaning the kitchen after breakfast, to getting off to school on time, the importance of interdependence and teamwork are a vital lesson taught in the milieu.
Once the guys arrive home from school and eat their afternoon snack, which usually comes out of the oven as they are arriving, they complete their homework and then get a chance for individual or group recreation time. Afternoons offer nearly three hours of recreation time that can be used for going outside and playing sports, playing video games with friends inside, plugging in a guitar and learning new songs, or even spending time walking on the trails along our lake. These times also offer extensive opportunities for personal time and one-on-one time with our highly trained Life Coach staff. During this part of the day, Life Coaches will be sure that the milieu is running smoothly and that time is maximized so all the residents can get the most out of the afternoon, especially when it comes to getting help with homework.
Every week day contains evening group therapy or a youth group service. Both happen shortly after everyone has dinner together. The group therapies are facilitated by a therapist and contain strong growth opportunities and moments where the guys can discuss how they can use the tools they are learning to be successful after Promise Village, as well as, while they are here. Each Group Therapy session incorporates attention-getters and activities that help the young men at Promise Village see that their future can be a bright one, and that God can give them peace and hope right where they are. The rest of the evening is filled with “chill time” with peers and staff.
Summer is an exciting time for the residents. Promise Village makes sure to use all of our resources during the summer months to maintain a teachable environment and keep things moving. Each day is full of well thought-out activities and leisure time. Students do not go to school during the summer months, unless special arrangements are made for summer school. A scheduled “Get Smart” time is scheduled each week to help any students that need to catch up on academics lags and to stay sharp during the summer months.
Eating breakfast, cleaning up, doing morning barn chores, and preparing for the day happens in much the same way as during the school year, all of which are finished before the quiet personal devotional time. Following this morning routine, the guys and Life Coaches will do a “Track.” (Tracks are described later on this page.)
Afternoons are full of recreational/free time, snacks and meals, afternoon barn chores and an afternoon Track. Towards the end of the night everyone comes together for group therapy, or to go to church. During the summer, days wrap up at 11:00 p.m.
Weekends offer a different pace than a week day. On Saturdays, the residents will wake up to the Life Coaches cooking a hearty breakfast. Soon after the residents have straightened up their rooms they will go outside to take care of the animals.
There are many great opportunities reserved for weekends at Promise Village, among them are awesome outings and activities. One of the activities that all the residents look forward to is the two-hour Equine Therapy that is offered on Saturday mornings. This is where each one of the young men spends time working with all the animals, but more importantly, learning how to care for a new friend: their own horse. Saturdays also allow for plenty of “chill time” and on-site recreational opportunities.
Sundays offer much the same pace as Saturdays. After completing their Sunday morning expectations: cleaning their rooms, doing barn chores, and getting cleaned up for the day, residents will go to a local church and then come back home for lunch. From there they complete any homework that needs to be finished before school on Monday. They will enjoy their remaining free time among having dinner, going to group, and completing other responsibilities before lights out.
Outings and Activities
Promise Village enjoys long-standing relationships with many local organizations, including many of Detroit’s professional sports teams. Several have noted the impact on the lives of the young men that have come here for help and have been gracious in providing opportunities to the residents. On any given weekend, the Life Coaches may take the guys to go see the Lions play at Ford Field, the Pistons play at the Palace, or even go spend an afternoon enjoying a concert at Joe Louis Arena. We reward the residents on the weekends for their hard work and diligence by structuring opportunities for them to enjoy activities such as riding go karts, relaxing at a movie, playing laser tag, or enjoying any one of a host of other local attractions.
Activities are a great tool used to teach the residents about the rewards of making healthy, positive choices, and teach how to use leisure time appropriately. They also provide an excellent venue for learning proper socialization skills and manners to live by.
Volunteering and Community Outreach
Promise Village has strong ties to the community and understands the importance of volunteering. Throughout the summer months Life Coaches will take the residents on weekly service projects where they will volunteer their time at, among other places, local food banks, retirement homes, and community gardens. These activities have a specific purpose in mind: to teach the guys the importance of helping others, especially those in need.
During both the school year and summer vacation there are times in the schedule used for structured activities meant for teaching and personal growth. These activities take place in the home, but also, due to the sprawling property at Promise Village, the residents are able to do several activities outdoors. Under the guidance and leadership of the Life Coaches who facilitate the Purpose Driven Activities (PDA’s) the guys will play games like capture the flag in the woods, compete on a ropes course challenge among the trees in the back yard, play a critical thinking game around a campfire at the lake, or play a game of baseball all with the intention of teaching necessary life skills. Through these PDA’s the Promise Village staff model and teach the residents specific lessons on topics such as:
• Anger Resolution
• Impulsive Behavior
• Managing Stress
• Constructively Expressing Feelings
• Identifying and Managing Triggers
• Critical Thinking Skills
• Social Responsibility
• Developing a Healthy Self-Image
• Risk Taking
• Thinking Errors
Life Coach Tracks
During the summer months each Life Coach will facilitate a Track. Each Track is a PDA, but will focus on a specific topic for the length of the summer. These Tracks are a multifaceted approach to developing the residents’ interests, character, and cultural awareness. Tracks cover areas like:
• Personal Health and Working Out
• Art and Film-making
• Crazy Games
• Adventure Challenges
• Basketball, Baseball, and Football
These Purpose Driven Activities provide excellent opportunities for developing the types of skills that these young men need to live successfully. An underlying goal in any PDA is to develop within the residents a positive and healthy perspective on life that will serve them long after their journey at Promise Village.
Academic achievement is an area that is focused on at Promise Village. The treatment team uses a host of methods to ensure that each resident is performing at their highest level, in all subjects. Depending on the individual needs and strengths of a young man when he arrives, his therapist and other administrative staff, along with school personnel, develop academic goals and provide tools to ensure that he is successful in school. Not only do Life Coaches provide one-on-one tutoring and mentoring, but other interventions such as homework sheets and Get Smart Time, have been crucial in what has been a consistent track record of raising test scores and achievement for the residents at Promise Village.
Jobs and Chores
Teaching life skills and job skills are an essential part of treatment. We teach the boys to be self sufficient when it comes to cleaning up after themselves and maintaining an orderly environment. Truly these are habits that are essential in obtaining and maintaining a steady job. Chore time contains numerous possibilities for teachable moments. After progressing through the program, residents have the opportunity to earn a job around the house that they can be paid for. The young men are paid and taught along the way how to improve their work ethic and develop honesty and integrity as it pertains to their job.