Whutz Up in Paradise Cove A monthly newsletter written for parents of kids in Samoa. Paradise Cove is a residential treatment facility for troubled adolescent boys.
Volume 1, Issue 6 June, 1997
IN THIS ISSUE.... TALOFA LAVA PARENT COORDINATOR'S CORNER COLD FEET FOR MONTANA ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING NEWS YOU CAN USE JUST A REMINDER! IS IT LIVE OR IS IT MEMOREX? GET OVER YOURSELF! UPCOMING SEMINAR DATES PARENT CHILD SEMINARS DOUBLE THE PLEASURE BIRTHDAY IDEAS FYI... CREATIVE FINANCING WITH GRATITUDE NEW PARENT SUPPORT GROUPS PARENT SUPPORT GROUPS GOT A NEW SUPPORT GROUP STARTING? TALOFA LAVA by Angie Viafanua, Mother of Paradise Cove Greetings from the Island of Western Samoa . . . . We cannot believe that we will soon be planning our 4th Annual Christmas Celebration. It is very hard to believe that half the year has already come and gone. This past month's highlight for us here in Paradise, would have to be the success of our boy's junior basketball team. Brian sponsored three teams this year in a 10 week basketball tournament. This was the first time the boy's team made it all the way to the finals. Though the game was lost in the last few minutes, they did very well, and we were very proud of their sportsmanship and their polite manner in the way they handled themselves during the entire tournament. They looked very handsome playing in their new jerseys. The name of their team is "Old School". We enjoyed following the games, and seeing how much fun the boys had playing with all the other local boys. They made some new friends as well. We have also had many parents visiting the past few months. It is wonderful to be involved with parents that are so supportive of the program and of what we are doing over here. We wish you could all come visit once your son reaches the recommended level. To see the boys interact with you parents with so much more maturity, and to see the many tears of joy . . . well, this is truly where the heart of the program resides. We feel so grateful to be working with your sons. Not only do they learn a lot while they are here, they teach Brian and I so much as well. We do not get to work with all the boys on such a close basis as before, due to the many demands and responsibilities required operating the program, but we do try and get out to the beaches as much as we can. We feel this is important for the boys to mingle with our kids, as they enjoy the family atmosphere. It is amazing how many of the boys have new little brothers and sisters they have never met or had the opportunity to get to know. They always mention how excited they are to return home to see these younger siblings. So rest assured . . . no matter what they say, or don't say, they are excited to see them. We look forward to the future of Paradise Cove, and your involvement. We will continue to do our best here, to assist your boys to prepare to return home with a new direction in their lives. If we can be of any assistance to you, please feel free to contact us, or your Case Manager. Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation! PARENT COORDINATOR'S CORNER by Glenda Cook One of the primary focus of my responsibilities is to orient new parents. The first few weeks are definitely the most trying, and I would like to be of assistance during that time. Having had a son go through the Paradise Cove program, I know first hand what it is like. You don't have to feel isolated. There is a lot of support for you. If you are a new parent, and we have not had a chance to visit yet, please contact me so we can set that up. If I am unable to take your call, you will be connected to my answering service. I will return calls in the order received. However, keep in mind, that new parent orientation does take priority. So your call may not be returned the same, or even the next day, depending on the number of new parents. Have you read the Parent Manual that was mailed out at the end of April? There is a lot of new information in there. Please consult your manual before calling me with a question. Many of the questions I receive are answered in the Parent Manual. It will save on your phone bill, and allow me to be the most effective in my time and responsibilities. If you reach my answering service, it is most helpful if you leave a message as to what it is regarding. You can contact me at: 801-656-5823 - phone 801-656-1899 - fax email@example.com P.O. Box 3109 St. George, UT 84771 COLD FEET FOR MONTANA by Chris Osborn, recommended home June 1997 Note: This letter was written by Chris in the last couple of weeks while he was in Transition at Spring Creek Lodge. It was written to the group of boys that were attending the June 1997 PC I with their parents, and were about to enter Transition. "I don't need Transition. It's just another program!" I said these words and I'm sure you have, too. But I ended up eating my words within the first week or two I was here at Spring Creek Lodge. I got back to America on April 1, 1997 and thought things were going to be fine between my parents and I. But by the last day of PCI, I was ready to disown my parents once again. On April 6th, when I caught my plane to Salt Lake City, on my way here, I wasn't even going to say goodbye to my parents. My mom had to ask me for a hug. Deep down I wanted to patch things up and I know my parents wanted to also. So, with the help of Jade, Case Manager for Transition, and Cameron, Spring Creek Lodge Director, I had two phone calls set up a week. One on Mondays and one on Fridays. At first I was hesitant to work with my mom and dad. But one day it seemed to all fall in place. With the coaching of Jade and Cameron, I was able to accept my responsibilities living at home. On April 29th, I went home for the first time in 17 months. I was very confident things would work out and they did! Better than my family or I could have ever imagined. I spent my 18th birthday at home. The first birthday I've spent at home in 4 years. It was my best ever! So I ask you to be open to Transition here in Montana. Most people agree that this place has done wonders for me. Without it, I probably would've gone home, turned 18, moved out, and failed. Put in the time and effort and it can help you, too. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING by Francie Baltazar-Schwartz shared by Jack Griffiths, son in Samoa 2 months Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life." "Yeah, right, it's not that easy." I protested. "Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life!" I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about 6 months after the accident. When I asked him how he was he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. Jerry replied, "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door. Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live!" "Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes I read, 'He's a dead man'. I knew I had to take action." "What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled . . . 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive . . . not dead!" Jerry lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything! NEWS YOU CAN USE by Brian and Angie Viafanua, Paradise Cove This month we would like to remind all the parents that as of June 1st, the Case Manager's schedule will switch to Schedule B as stated in the current Parent Manual. We ask that parents please send all checks to the R&B Billing Office. Do not send any checks or money to Samoa. Send to R&B Billing, P.O. Box 2137, St. George, UT 84771. Any billing questions call 801-656-0630. Please be aware that we have also stated the public Holidays, that are honored in Samoa, in the new Parent Manual. All of our offices in Samoa will be closed on those days. We would like to commend the parents for their cooperation with following the policy regarding sending packages to their sons. We have had notably many less packages to deal with, and this has really assisted the Case Managers, allowing them more time with their boys. It has also allowed us to be more consistent with following the proper procedures, as stated in the Parent Manual. We would like to announce the day we have reserved for our 1997 Christmas Celebration will be December 23rd. Those of you planning to be in Samoa over the Christmas Holidays, please keep this in mind when making your travel arrangements. We have chosen a very exciting location for this Celebration to take place, however it will remain a secret until the final days before then, as we do not want the boys to know where it is being held. We are really looking forward to another wonderful Christmas party. We know it is an emotional time of year for the boys. We, of course, want them to miss their families, and remember all the good times they have had, and will have again in the future. Our aim is to make this time of year memorable for them yet we want them to have the desire to be with their families for the next Holiday. We would like to remind you of the policy for those parents interested in visiting the Island. While we welcome your visit, we would encourage you to review you Parent Manual regarding the guidelines we have structured for those visits. This includes during the Holidays. These guidelines are based on many years experience in order to best insure the support for, and continued progress of, the student. We are still having concerns with some of the parents regarding the Off Grounds phone calls. Please try and understand that we cannot give specific times for the boys to call. We can give the day they will be calling, and that is as close as we can be. If the call is missed, the call will take place at the next Off Grounds set aside for phone calls. Missed calls cannot be made up. We love the opportunity to work with your boys. We will do our best to assist them in the direction they need, and have been looking for. Thank you for your trust in us. We all need to be on the same path that will, one day, lead back home. JUST A REMINDER! New Parents: Please make sure transcripts are faxed to Browning Academy. Contacting the school(s) to confirm they have been sent, usually accelerates this process. (See Parent Manual) Please be sure to register for the Discovery and Focus seminars. This allows the necessary preparations, such as adequate number of staff. Discovery registration: Ren: 801-635-0918 or firstname.lastname@example.org Focus registration: Kate: 801-688-2856 (10am-5pm: Mon-Fri) or email@example.com or fax either registration to: 801-635-7876 IS IT LIVE OR IS IT MEMOREX? by Glenda Cook, Parent Coordinator As parents, when we start this journey called Paradise Cove, we are usually in the grips of experiencing fear, helplessness, feelings of failure, worry that our child will "never forgive us", and a great deal of pain. We wonder if it will ever be any different. And, at that moment, we are determined to see it through to the end. But as Parent Coordinator, I witness an interesting phenomenon as time passes. Bits of progress begin to be made, even large amounts of progress, better then any parent dared dream of in the beginning. And time fades those painful memories. It is then replaced with a deep longing to see . . . hear . . . touch the child held so close to your heart. This child, now on Level 3 or 4, is writing home some wonderful letters. Beginning to take some accountability, showing glimpses of strength of leadership, and sounding so good on those phone calls. They have now entered into what I have come to recognize, as a real danger zone. A Danger zone in the sense that there is a temptation to now shorten up the process. In the beginning it was "endure to the end." Now progress is coming slower then the parent is comfortable with, the pain is a memory, not a daily way of life, and it is so enticing to shortcut the system. Recently, I had the privilege of having lunch with a group of girls from Cross Creek Manor. These girls had all been in their program for at least a year. They were all Level 5 or 6. At least half of them had even been dropped in levels at some point, something none of them regretted by the way. Our discussion turned to the completion of their program. One girl shared with me how she nearly manipulated her way home on Level 4, because she "knew exactly what they (her folks) wanted to hear." She continued, "I knew they missed me. I knew I wasn't ready. But I wanted to go home. I'm so glad they didn't buy into my stuff." Earlier this month, a group of boys, and their families worked together at Parent/Child II, putting their final touches on their plans for home. The boys, and parents alike, had worked hard for this moment. There were struggles, tears of joy, even tears of sadness, and a lot of love. As I talked with several of them I asked what it would have been like if they had short cut what they had done. Over and over, parent and boy alike expressed how grateful they were to themselves that they had seen it through to the end. This is a tough, long, slow process. It took a long time to get here, and there are no quick fixes. But it can reap such rich rewards if utilized to the fullest. Patience for what is real . . . it's not easy . . . only worth it! GET OVER YOURSELF! by Sandy Byrd, son in Samoa 8 months Hi, I'm Sandy Byrd, mother of my 15 year old son Chris who has been in Paradise Cove since October 1996. I completed the Discovery seminar and it was life-changing to say the least! It showed me how much work I need to do on myself. I immediately signed up for the next Focus seminar. I can't wait to get on with my new life. It's exciting to have the opportunity to grow along with my child. To those out there who are single moms and dads, whose child is in the custody of the other parent and stepparent, which is the same position I am in, I know how much it hurts and how helpless it feels. All I can say at this point is to stop feeling sorry for yourself and take action! Make yourself an example for your child, but do it for YOU first. Hang on tight for the ride and work hard! Much love, Sandy UPCOMING SEMINAR DATES June Seattle Focus 19-22 Dallas Focus 19-22 Youth Discovery 27-29 July Dallas Discovery 11-13 St.George -PC III 10-12 LA Focus 10-13 Seattle Discovery 18-20 St. George-PC I 7/29 - 8/2 August LA Discovery 1-3 St. George-PC II 7-9 Seattle Focus 14-17 Dallas Focus 21-24 Registration: Discovery - Ren: 801-635-0918 Focus - Kate: 801-688-2856 Fax: 801-635-7876 PARENT CHILD SEMINARS by David Gilcrease, TASKS Director Over the last few months, questions regarding Parent Child seminars have arisen. I would like to take this space to inform you of both the requirements and value of these TASKS seminars. All Parent Child seminars are held in the St. George, Utah area. The first is PC 1. This, like all PC seminars, is an invitational seminar. This seminar will focus on family issues and dynamics. PC 1 is, for many families, the first time since entering the program, these issues are dealt with face to face. This is difficult, unsettling, and even painful at times. However, to build a new family the past must be resolved and used as a learning tool. The PC 1 is not about "GOING HOME". The boys will be staying in the program, in Transition, until an invitation is issued by your review team to attend PC II. PC II is focused on "GOING HOME". The focus is on completing the home contract, life changes, and issues for the NEW family. Between PC 1 and PC II a home visit is strongly recommended. This visit will occur when your son has achieved the proper level, which is usually Level 6. Often, but not always, the child will leave the program shortly after completion of PC II. It is best, as a parent, and for the well being of the family, to keep your options open. DO NOT tell your child they are leaving. Going home is always based on results in the program and seminars, NOT TIME. Usually, 2-3 months after PC 1 there is a PC II which your family may attend, which again, is based on your son's behavior and choices. PC III is the follow up seminar. PC III is offered four times a year. Once you have been home 60+ days, you will be invited to attend the PC III. This is an invaluable support to your family's success in that it is the 10,000 mile checkup. This gives your family a structured environment to review contracts, work out problems which have arisen, and to reconnect with the program fundamentals. Plan PC III attendance as part of your home contract. The critical period of time when your child comes home is the first 90-120 days. Use every tool the program offers to ensure your optimal continued success. There is only one exception to the PC series. If your child is turning 18 and has fulfilled the contract, you may be granted an exception to attend PC 1 before they are at Level 5. This would include a commitment to utilize Transition and complete PC II as well. Your Case Manager can assist in planning this, if it is applicable to your situation. Please note that all exceptions must be approved, by me, prior to attendance at PCI. Again, this applies to 18-year-olds only. I have seen the extraordinary benefits to those who fully utilize all of the Parent Child series. Time and again, parents and students alike state that without the support and tools gained from these seminars, family unity and harmony would have been doubtful. For your family's optimal success, I STRONGLY recommend completing your program. DOUBLE THE PLEASURE by Carrie Shirreffs, son in Transition My son, Zak, spent 14 months in Samoa, and is now in Transition. I can't say enough good about this program. I know where my son would be without it - dead or in jail. This program was an answer to prayer, and the whole family has grown and begun to heal because of it. We are a two-household family. I am so proud of all of us because we have put our differences aside, and left old hurts and issues behind. Today our two homes work together to support all of us. For anyone with two households I want to let you know that it is possible to create a new family that includes ex-husbands and wives, new stepparents and siblings, and to be a loving, caring unit. The main thing to remember is that both sides don't have to see this possibility for it to begin. It only takes one person, committed to their choice, to create something new. BIRTHDAY IDEAS First of all, remember that less is more. This can present a challenge for parents who are missing their child and who may have, in the past, leaned towards the indulgent. But we're looking to create new and improved results, which includes how you acknowledge their birthday. Always check with your Case Manager before mailing. Remember to allow plenty of time to arrive. Everything sent should fit inside a shoe box. Refer to the Parent Manual also. Some ideas: * Pictures of the family * A small photo album * Favorite fragrant deodorant * The green Christmas trees you hang in the car - it makes their clothes smell nice * Bag of candy to share * Colored pencils * New pair of thongs * Non-medicated baby powder * Letters from the family * Favorite toothpaste FYI....... Did you know . . . that in addition to regular school curriculum, your son views educational videos? The National Geographic Series includes videos on the world Eco Systems, animals of Africa, and whales. Famous Americans include Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford. There's a series on Famous Scientists with outstanding lifetime achievements. The Nova Series and American Presidents are also viewed, just to name a few. These all contribute to further enhance their education and knowledge of the world. CREATIVE FINANCING by Betty Stauch, son in Samoa 8 months Yes . . . it is true! I have been able to get this program funded! I NEVER GIVE UP! I NEVER TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER WHEN SOMEONE MAY BE ABLE TO SAY YES! I have no special training, at least not in the continuing education arena! The special training I have had is living with a "special" child. Aren't they special? Very early I realized that Richard was going to need all I had to give and then some! No one would take care of him anymore . . . he even got kicked out of preschool! I quit my job and created my own daycare business, with no previous experience. But I was unwilling to even tell myself no. I did whatever I had to do to create the results needed. The purpose in my telling you this is to say - never say never! I had to secure funding for RJ's treatment. End of story! I knew that the only entity that "had" to help was the school district. So I went at it like a bull dog! Here are some of the things you need to answer if you are to consider doing the same thing: 1. Was your child ever made a "Focus of Concern"? Either by you or school personnel. 2. Did he ever have an IEP? Special Education? 3. Was he ever suspended, expelled, put on home tutoring? 4. Was he ever served in a special class of any kind? 5. Was he ever recommended for Special Education? There is a Federal Law that mandates all children receive a Free Appropriate Public Education, (FAPE). The key word is appropriate. It takes some digging, but I am confident that many parents have been down the same road I have. If you answered yes to some of these questions, it's worth your time to look into this. Be forewarned, this became my second full time job for many months! It is not easy! I became "the squeaky wheel". I started at the District Superintendent's office. No luck there, so I contacted the State Capital Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. I wrote him a letter stating that several times I had requested additional assistance for my son, that was very much needed. I stated that if he was not put in an appropriate program immediately, I would have no choice but to sue them in Federal Court. I had a written response within 24 hours! They also offered a low or no cost attorney, also a requirement. We finally ended up making a settlement with the district. We did not have to sue, but it was touch and go for awhile. There is a landmark case that we used to support a settlement for reimbursement. It is the Carter case. When a parent puts a child into a private school on an emergent basis, the "school" does not have to conform to the district or state rules, it only has to be acceptable to the parents! Of course, it was much more involved then there is room to detail. However, if any of this sounds like a possibility to you, give me a call at 425-228-8179 or e-mail at SEWSTAUCH@aol.com. Editors note: Thanks Betty, for sharing. We would ask, that out of consideration to Betty, if she has to return a call to you, it will be on a collect basis. WITH GRATITUDE by Greg Pretzfeld, home March 1997 Today I picked up a greeting card for my parents. Kind of like a Thank You card. Here I am, three months out of Samoa and now I'm at Arizona State University, and I still think about where I might be today, or if I would even be, without my parents will and determination to intervene on my old lifestyle. So I spent my money on a card to tell them thanks. It read: "Life is not a problem to be solved, But a reality to be EXPERIENCED" I saw it and I had to thank them for giving me the chance to do such a wonderful thing. I have been working real hard for the greatest GPA I can E-A-R-N! No more freebies in life. I am starting to see that more clearly than ever now that I am 19 and in the college world where no one could care about you, if you don't care about yourself. And I do. I am a Powerful, Loving and Sensitive young man. NEW PARENT SUPPORT GROUPS Ft. Myers/Tampa area: Lee Cobb 941-433-2409 Denver area: Susan & Alan Hollister 303-771-6312 Orange County area: Sybil Sullivan 714-434-2554 Las Vegas:: Maria Thulin 702-655-3291 Antelope Valley, CA: Martha Davidson 805-949-0786 Linda Machiels 805-944-6179 PARENT SUPPORT GROUPS Seattle : John & Sue Morton 206-941-6828 St. George: Lori Tebbs 801-656-2612 Salt Lake City: Denise & David Bern 801-266-4518 Maryland/VA./D.C. Debbie Mould 410-721-9372 & Maria Gallagher 703-327-3364 Bay Area: Tim & Sandy Flood 415-349-4358 & Chuck & Sharon Brothers 415-948-6628 LA area: Jeff Wells: 818-914-2320 Miami: Lynne Pretzfeld 305-595-7912 Anchorage: (new group forming) Pam Phillip-Knapp 907-338-1214 Atlanta: Dina Dalton 770-971-3853 Dallas/Ft. Worth: Charles Parks 817-795-3030 & Julie Aderman (after hours) 817-296-9975 Chico, Ca: Shelly & Pat Tedford 916-893-2141 Fairbanks, Ak: Bill Lanning 907-457-7384 GOT A NEW SUPPORT GROUP STARTING? If you want your new group to be posted in the newsletter, please forward your information to Glenda Cook. If you have contact corrections that needs correction, please update Glenda with that information as well. Send information to: 801-656-1899 - fax or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org WHUTZ UP in Paradise Cove P.O. Box 3109 St. George, Utah 84771 "It only takes one person, committed to her choice, to create something new."