Boston Youth Sanctuary provides a safe and nurturing environment where at-risk youth are encouraged to express themselves positively and gain sustainable coping skills that aid in academic, community and home life success. Youth that attend the BYS Program will graduate feeling empowered and better equipped to face the challenges that arise in their daily lives.
Who We Are:
Boston Youth Sanctuary (BYS) is a therapeutic after-school program for youth ages 6-13 that have experienced trauma. BYS works with children and families from the Boston community providing clinical and case management services designed to improve youths’ functioning in home, community and academic settings. BYS will work to address the needs of children across all life domains by providing wrap-around services to them and their families in one centralized location.
BYS youth are residents of Boston ages 6-13. BYS youth present with a variety of mental health diagnoses including but not limited to: PTSD, ADHD, ODD and a variety of anxiety and depressive disorders. BYS youth need not have formal diagnoses of PTSD; however they must have mental health diagnosis that is impacted by the trauma they have experienced. BYS youth come from a variety of academic settings and familial structures, and BYS is committed to meeting children and families where they are at.
§ Trauma Evaluations: BYS provides comprehensive trauma evaluations, conducted by a qualified mental health professional. These evaluations provide immense clinical insight into the impact of trauma on a youth’s current functioning and presentation. Trauma evaluations make specific treatment recommendations that inform the clinical direction, treatment goals, and services provided to youth at BYS. Trauma evaluations are also reviewed with youths’ families and other relevant collaterals to ensure treatment continuity across life domains.
§ Therapeutic/Activity Groups: BYS youth participate in a therapeutic and activity groups based on their age and needs. These groups provide a nurturing and supportive environment for youth to collectively engage around a variety of issues faced by children in the community. These topics may include: bullying, community violence, family stressors, or the impact of multiple school placements. These groups also provide a forum for youth to receive support and instruction in developing social, coping, and life skills. Skill building group topics may include: nutrition, de-escalation techniques, and conflict resolution strategies.
§ Individual Therapy: BYS youth have access to weekly individual therapy with experienced, licensed clinicians. Individual therapy recommended is highly tailored to meet the specific treatment needs of each child.
§ Medication Evaluation: BYS youth have access to a child psychiatrist that will be able to evaluate a youth’s current medications, assess their need for medication, and prescribe medication as needed. The prescribing psychiatrist works closely with the youth’s therapist, family and other relevant providers to ensure best practice.
§ Educational Advocacy: BYS offers educational advocacy for BYS youth as needed. BYS believes that success in academic settings is essential to long-term behavioral stabilization. An educational advocate is available to review existing Individual Educational Plans (IEPs), attend IEP meetings, request testing and advocate for youths’ educational needs. Educational advocates are available in conjunction with a youth’s broader clinical team to consult with youths’ schools about effective behavior management strategies as determined by their treatment plans and goals.
§ Case Management: BYS offers case management services to the families/caregivers of BYS youth. Each BYS youth is assigned a case manager upon acceptance and each case managers will work directly with families/caregivers. Case managers will work with families to establish long and short-term goals in an effort to achieve long-term familial stability. Case managers will offer strategic and direct support in pursuit of established goals. Case management services will vary based on the needs and expressed wishes of families/caregivers. All BYS case managers are highly experienced navigating social service systems and accessing community resources.
§ Nutrition and Health: BYS provides youth with daily nutritious food options in collaboration with City Fresh. We also provide education about healthy eating choices. BYS youth learn about nutrition, portion control, and general health in an effort to support youth in healthy physical and emotional development. BYS offers youth a variety of opportunities to engage in physical activities including outdoor free play and staff-lead physical activity. BYS youth also have the opportunity to participate in child trauma-informed yoga.
§ Art Expressive Therapy: BYS youth receive art expressive therapy as part of their treatment to offer them an alternative means to engage clinically beyond the traditional talk therapy model. Art expressive therapy integrates traditional psychotherapy models with dance, visual art, music and drama to allow youth to process their experiences and feelings through non-traditional means. BYS youth are encouraged to express themselves creatively with both staff and peers to allow them to feel supported, validated and a part of the BYS community.