Since its inception in 1912, Jewish Child Care Association's Pleasantville Campus has provided residential treatment services for youth in foster care in a highly supervised and protected environment, while they work with their family and our staff to resolve their difficulties.
Young people come to our Campus as a last stop on our continuum of foster care services. They have had significant disruption in their lives, including being separated from their families and transitioning to and from different foster home placements. Most of our youth come from impoverished communities and have been exposed to multiple traumas, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect. As a result, they have emotional needs and cognitive challenges that require the higher level of care offered at a residential facility before returning home to their family or being placed with a foster and/or adoptive family.
Traditional psychotherapy is not effective for many adolescents who have been traumatized. Many of our youth, especially our young men, are unable to find words to describe their pain. They also find it very difficult to trust adults as a result of the trauma. the experience of sitting one-on-one across from a therapist and talking about the horrible things they have witnessed and/or experienced is too intense.
Arts Institute Without Walls, a therapeutic arts education and enrichment program, provides youth with high-quality, purposeful therapeutic art groups. It is one of the most effective ways to reduce symptoms of trauma. Creating art evokes feelings that traumatized youth find difficult to access directly by verbal means. The capacity for soothing and calming that art offers is very beneficial to helping youth recover from experiences that have broken their spirit. By utilizing their creative energy and expanding their capacity for artistic pursuits, youth have another mechanism for healing.
We utilize a Community Partnership Model, meaning we collaborate with numerous local arts organizations, each with expertise in a specific artistic medium. Working with different organizations provides flexibility and lowers the overall cost, allowing JCCA to find the best and brightest instructors for our youth. It also allows JCCA to take advantage of its close proximity to New York City, a cultural mecca, with very reputable arts organizations and the best and brightest instructors in the world.
While the program is alive and evolving, we currently offer urban poetry, urban dance, drumming, filmmaking, photography, reading, music, singing and theater as vehicles for healing.