CTS Rubber Band Ball Has Salem County Kickoff

Community Treatment Solutions and Mt. Zion Baptist Church hosted a successful Salem County kickoff for the Rubber Band BUS.

Featuring presentations by Rev. Awood Jones, Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church; Salem Mayor Charles Washington Jr.; Salem County Freeholder Lee Ware and CTS CEO Susan Buchwald, the kickoff was attended by members of Salem County Sheriff’s Office, town council, DCP&P, Senator Stephen Sweeney’s office, area businesses and other representatives of the community. At the presentation’s conclusion, guests were invited to add bands to the growing ball.

See below for coverage of the event!

 

Video: Traveling Rubber Band Ball Hopes to Make a Difference and Break Record

 

 

Consequences of Being Traumatized – CTS CEO’s Summer Blog

There have been times when youth come to their intake into a CTS program and no one has told them they are staying with us. These kids are told that they are going out to dinner!   I’m not making this up or being dramatic.  This happens frequently.  They get here and the person with them just says goodbye and leaves.  Some of the youth just take in stride.  Some of them become quite enraged, start to yell, cry and/or become destructive.  It’s the ones who take it in stride that I worry about.

Imagine being so used to abandonment and rejection that being dropped into a strange environment, with no one there who is familiar and no idea where you are not bothering you. Imagine being lied to and manipulated by adults in your life with no impact on you.

Most of the youth who come to CTS fall into the category described above. We used to call this institutionalized.  That is, the youth has been so dependent on the system that they rationalize what is happening as being normal and someone taking care of them.  Some of them figure that whatever we offer them is better than the life of abuse and neglect they have experienced before they came to us.

We now know that these behaviors, both the silence and the rage, are responses to the trauma these youth have experienced. Youth whose behaviors are hostile and aggressive are often the ones who have been rejected even further by other adults, the schools and the community. Youth who are passive also run the risk of being rejected because they appear detached and disinterested.  The reactions from others serve to reinforce for the youth that their world is cruel, they are worthless and they are, and always will be, victims.

These are some of the consequences of being traumatized and Community Treatment Solutions provides treatment that supports youth in their recovery, reinforces youths’ resiliency and gives youth new tools to prevent re-traumatization. It is a collaborative effort between CTS staff, the youth, the youth’s family and the community.

The Rubber Band Bus (Bands that Unite uS) is born out of this idea.  The BUS and our attempt to make the biggest rubber band ball in the world serves the following functions:

  1. As it travels throughout New Jersey, we present information on Child Abuse Awareness and distribute an activity guide for youth on the topic. We believe that by doing so we will impact on preventing child abuse and childhood trauma. Visit www.ctsnj.org to see where the BUS has been and where it’s going.
  2. When the BUS travels to places of business and offices it increases employee morale and interconnectedness because child abuse prevention is a unifying cause.
  3. It raises money and support for CTS arts and recreation programs that give youth a new voice to express themselves. www.ctsnj.org includes several videos in which youth discuss the importance of arts and recreation and also shows them participating in our newest collaboration with Settlement Music School     (www.settlementmusic.org ).

Get on the BUS.   Help us prevent child abuse and give traumatized youth an opportunity to find their voice.

Contact Mark Hatoff at mhatoff@ctsnj.org to schedule a BUS visit to your organization, company or office.

Follow the BUS and its progress on the CTS website or Facebook (https://facebook.com/rubberbandbus), on Instagram (https://instagram.com/rubberbandbus) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/rubberbandbus).

 

Susan Buchwald

CTS President & CEO

CTS Annual Back to School Drive Underway

backpack graphic

 

The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time for children and families alike. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for the youth of CTS. Many come from homes where important achievements and milestones go unrecognized.

You can help by donating a new backpack and supplies for the upcoming school year. Having these essential school supplies can be a big help to our kids and future their success in school. Please help! THANK YOU!

Besides backpacks (some schools require clear backpacks), items needed include:

Writing Utensils – Notebooks – Highlighters – Erasers – Pocket Folders

 

Backpacks and supplies can be dropped off at one of the CTS offices below:

236 W. Route 38, Suite 210, Moorestown, NJ

622 Landis Ave., Bridgeton NJ

Or contact Mark Hatoff at (856) 642-9090, ext. 402 or mhatoff@ctsnj.org

to arrange for pickup by September 2, 2016

CTS Back to School Flyer

CTS Employees Recognized for Years of Service

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Five Community Treatment Solutions Employees were recognized for milestone years of service at the 2016 CTS Employee Appreciation Summer Event at Liberty Lake.

Receiving awards were (pictured from left to right) Ruth Darlington (20 years), Diane Fillari (5 years), Roxanne Holland (CTS Employee of the Year) and Brittany Reynolds (5 years). Also recognized (not pictured) were Makada Mortimer (10 years) and Marcely Jean-Pierre (5 years).

 

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2016 CTS Employee of the Year!

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Roxanne Holland, a case manager for Community Treatment Solutions, was named as the 2016 CTS Employee of the Year!

Holland (pictured on the right with Vice President Quality Improvement and Compliance Jennifer Hess), who works with the CTS BASE (Better Access to a Safe Environment) program, which is intended to restore dignity, decrease risk and increase the wellbeing and self-worth of youth exploited by human trafficking, was presented with the award at the annual CTS Employee Appreciation Summer Event.   The award is given each year to the employee who consistently goes above and beyond for CTS youth and co-workers. 

As mentioned in nominations by her colleagues,  Holland was recognized as being one who continuously focuses on youths’ strengths and is always eager to advocate and support them and make a difference in their lives. This is evidenced by the number of youth who have remained in contact with her after they have been discharged from the program, because they recognize that she cares for them beyond just being a “client”.

Congratulations Roxanne!

 

Thank you to our Volunteers!

CTS appreciates our volunteers! During June, youth from Community Treatment Solutions were introduced to Gyotaku in an hands-on activity presented by Sara and Fred Bogue of the Berkeley Fishing Club. Gyotaku, the traditional Japanese method of printing fish, dates back to the mid-1800s. After some brief hesitation and instruction, the youth were creating works of art for prints and t-shirts!

Fish printing 3 Fish printing 2 Fish printing

Also in June, a group of employees from the Mount Laurel Target store volunteered at one of the CTS group homes.

Led by store manager Rick Lombardo, the Target team were able to paint three rooms in just under four hours!

If you or your group is interested in volunteering with Community Treatment Solutions, please contact Mark Hatoff at (856) 642-9090, ext. 402 or mhatoff@ctsnj.org.

 Target volunteers

 

CTS Graduates!

CTS Graduate Chanice Graduation photo 2 Jackson - Isaiah Blakely promotion to 6th grade

CTS is proud of the following youth from our programs who have graduated from elementary, middle school and high school in 2016!

Elementary School:        Issaiah B.

Middle School:

  • Shanyah C. – Attending Holy Spirit Catholic HS, Atlantic Co.
  • Sahdayah M. – Attending Willingboro HS
  • Matthew G. – Hoping to attend BCIT in the fall

High School:

  • SeAsia J. – Graduated from Winslow Twp. HS
  • Alexander C.R. – Graduated from GCIT (valedictorian); attending Camden County College
  • Chanice S. – Graduated from Burlington County Special Services School and received the Principal’s Award

Congratulations to all!

Benefits of a Rubber Band BUS – CEO’s Spring Blog

 

CTS has been approved by Guinness World Records to try and build the biggest rubber band ball in the world. We want to break the record of 9,032 pounds, and your help can make it possible! We want you to join us in the Bands that Unite US campaign and the RUBBER BAND BUS tour.

Recently, Community Treatment Solutions (CTS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the most at-risk youths affected by trauma in New Jersey, was tasked with sending out a 5,000-person mailing on a very tight deadline. At a loss as to how we were going to accomplish this, we sent an SOS call to all staff and 60 people showed up.  We labeled, stuffed and stamped 5,000 envelopes in three hours and met the deadline.  Successfully accomplishing this task reinforced our belief that dedicated, good hearted people can accomplish monumental things when they are willing to work together and focus.  The RUBBER BAND BUS was born out of this idea.

The Rubber Band BUS is a call for action to understand and address the needs of youth who have experienced abuse and neglect, youth who have experienced trauma in their lives and are now having trouble coping and finding their place in the world. Even if we cannot unite in other areas, we must pledge our support to these youth and commit ourselves to making sure that they have a voice, a chance to recover and opportunities to succeed.

Many youth – certainly most of the youth in CTS programs – display behaviors that have resulted in their being rejected by their schools and communities. These behaviors are symptoms of their trauma and not who they are!  Chronic traumatic events, such as the ones experienced by youth in our care, often results in emotional dysregulation and loss of safety, direction and ability to detect or respond to danger cues.[1]

One of these youth, Mike, spoke at our Rubber Band BUS kickoff. Now 26 years old, Mike said that he “would not be alive without CTS.”  Mike came to us when he was nine.  He came to us after having failed in 11 foster homes because of his behaviors.  He was described as hearing voices, unable to manage his personal hygiene and hoarding food.   This was all the history we had on Mike and he did, indeed, display these behaviors in our program.  After a psychiatric evaluation which could not identify a diagnosis fit for his symptoms, we began to explore Mike’s story with him.  Observing Mike’s symptoms (along with what we know about traumatizing youth), we were careful to move at Mike’s pace, using a variety of vehicles such as play therapy, drawing and music.  He told us that from age 4-6 he and his sister were left alone for weeks at a time, often eating out of the neighbors’ trash cans.  When his father would come home, he would sexually molest his sister.  When his mother came home she would put cigarettes out on his arms.  At around age 5½ Mike began to resist so his parents locked him in the closet and fed him through a hole in the door.  They allowed him out for one bathroom break a day.  He stayed in that closet until a neighbor became concerned that she hadn’t seen Mike for over six months and contacted the authorities.  Every single behavior Mike was displaying was connected to his traumatic experiences and he was showing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Kwannie is nine years old. He came with a diagnosis of eating disorder and oppositional defiance.  He too had had multiple problematic placements.  He announced at admission that he was not going to cooperate with treatment and he was going to run away as soon as he had the chance. In the program, Kwannie was rude, belligerent and provocative with his peers but most often, uncommunicative. We questioned his IQ and/or possible hearing problems.  We listened, observed and redirected Kwannie when his behaviors did not meet program rules.  We also noticed that Kwannie had a significant gash on his forehead which had not been previously identified in his history.  Further fact finding determined that his mother had hit him so hard with a large object that it created a four inch open wound, then attempted to sew the wound up with needle and thread instead of taking him to the hospital.

Both Mike and Kwannie are remarkable young men. Mike is 26 and will return to CTS next week as an employee of CTS.  Prior to coming to CTS he worked for four years at a convenience store while going to community college and getting an associate’s degree.  Kwannie recently starred in an adaptation of Moby Dick and is making full use of his drama and music classes so he can find his voice.  He has not run away and he fully participates in treatment.

Kwannie’s and Mike’s successes belong to them. We only gave them opportunities like life skills classes, art, drama, dance music classes, recreational activities like fishing trips and overnight camps, museum trips and going to a play, gardening, sporting events, tutoring and college prep classes, dining out somewhere besides a fast food chain and, of course, treatment.  For these youth, treatment alone is not effective because they do not trust anyone and need safe places.  Combining treatment with experiences where they can explore their feelings and thoughts indirectly, having positive role models and having fun makes all the difference in the world.  We have used all of our donor dollars thus far to provide youth with these experiences and we will do the same with the funds from the Rubber Band BUS.

We ask you to join us by supporting the Rubber Band BUS, by being part of the movement to give these amazing youth a chance to have a more normal life. If you would like to participate or to find out more, please go to http://www.ctsnj.org/donate-to-the-rubber-band-bus/.

 

Susan Buchwald

CEO, Community Treatment Solutions

 

[1] The National Traumatic Stress Network, 2011.

CTS Provider and Client Receive Awards at NJACYF Conference

Michael Jones, a Community Treatment Solutions (CTS) client, and therapeutic home provider Karen Pendleton were both honored at the 2016 New Jersey Alliance for Children, Youth and Families (NJACYF) Annual Conference at Rutgers University-Livingston.

Jones, a client in CTS’ TRAIL (Transitional Assisted Independent Living) program, was the recipient of a Ted Hamway Scholarship, which helps at-risk youth within any of the NJ Alliance’s member agencies fund their education after graduating from high school.

Jones, who is finishing up his senior year at Timber Creek High School, has always been a hard worker, maintaining excellent grades often while working two jobs.  An entrepreneur, Michael started shoveling snow in the winter when he was 14 years old, while landscaping and running his own water ice stand in the summer. He has been accepted into the Gloucester County Community College Nursing Program, where he will begin his freshman year in the fall.

Pendleton, who was presented with the NJACYF Treatment Home Family of the Year award, has been a CTS provider since 2010. She is extremely dedicated to every youth placed in her home, where she provides a safe, secure and nurturing family environment. Considering all youth placed in her home part of her immediate and extended family, Karen has also remained in contact with many of the youth long after they have transitioned out of CTS.

CTS is proud of Karen and Michael for all of their accomplishments!