A Day in the Life of a Teen at Pacific Life Program
It’s a Tuesday morning at Pacific Life Program and students wake up at 7:50 am. They make their beds and get ready for the day, putting on sports gear and heading out to breakfast. Today's morning meal is Denver Omlette & hash browns, with a choice of two pieces of toast and a glass of milk or a bagel and hot chocolate.
Breakfast is a good time for chit-chat, and then it’s out to the field to play some soccer. After warming up, they start some drills supervised by the fitness coach on dribbling and passing. The girls are especially excited about equine therapy tomorrow.Once the physical activity is done, it's off to the showers.
Now it's school time. We're working on math and science lessons, so the students today are all gathered around on the floor so the teacher can review some basics of Algebra. Two hours later, it's clean-up time. Each student is assigned particular chores for the week, and after that's done it's time for lunch.
Today’s lunch is onion soup, a choice between a ham or a turkey sandwich, and a green salad. Once lunch is completed, and a half hour of rest and personal time elapses, it's time for group therapy.
Today’s topic in Group Therapy is self-esteem. Brooke hears the experiences of her peers and decides to share her personal experience. At the end of the session, she is gratified that she allowed herself to open up emotionally, and feels that a lot of really difficult issues are being addressed. Danny, who started the day grumpy, has come around and also got a lot out of the session. Now everyone has a free hour to do whatever they want. Some decide to write in their journals -- just a few things -- to keep track of their activities and monitor progress. Others might write a letter home to their parents, or take a quiet walk around the grounds.
In the afternoon school session, the students log in to their account, and get to work on their lessons: If someone has difficulty articulating a few things, the tutor provides some help.
After school everyone heads over to the auditorium, where today is art therapy: each student is assigned an emotion to paint, depending on his/her particular issues -- and then will share and explain the artwork with the group afterwards. Such projects can get a little intense -- but the therapist always leaves them feeling good, knowing that they have accomplished something important.
It’s time for dinner and everyone hopes today’s dinner menu will include one of their favorites. The noise and happy chatter gets louder as word is passed that tonight's dinner is lasagna with garlic bread. Table conversation included the morning's Algebra and the camp fire after dinner.
After dinner, some kids go to their rooms and share the highlights of their day with their roommates, whereas others enjoy some reading time -- one girl's parents sent her a book yesterday called “The Gifts of Imperfection”. It's not unusual for students to want to discuss some of the things in a book with the therapist. Now it's evening time, and back to school for an hour of study hall and make-up. Other students may be scheduled for an individual therapy session at this time, or for videoconference with parents.
Once school is over, the group can't wait to head upstairs to the lounge where some peers are in a ping-pong tournament against the staff while others are watching TV. The group's vote for tonight's movie was "The Blind Side".
Finally, the students are off to their rooms to get ready for bed. Some go back to journaling, other will chat little with their roommates, and then it's lights out.
The anxiety, resentment, and frustrations of just weeks ago are going away, and the kids fall asleep quickly after another very productive, day at Pacific Life Program.