therapeutic recreation

The Therapeutic Recreation Program (TRP) is an after-school program designed for troubled youth between the ages of eight to 17. The program examines the use of leisure and recreational activities in a constructive way and provides anger management training with an emphasis on developing positive social relationships.

TRP is one of a continuum of programs provided by Bethany for Children & Families. The program has served children in the Blackhawk Area Special Education district and Illinois Quad Cities for more than 25 years.

TRP provides a safe and nurturing recreational and learning environment in which staff members challenge troubled youth to replace problematic behaviors with appropriate social skills. Increased emotional and social competency allows them to succeed not only in their educational settings, but also at home and in the community.

Eligibility for Therapeutic Recreation

TRP serves boys and girls ages eight to 17 with serious emotional problems that may lead to placement outside the home. The Therapeutic Recreation Program provides after school programming during the academic year and offers educational and recreational outings during the program’s extended summer hours.

TRP provides services in cooperation with agencies from a variety of fields, including:

  • Special Education

  • Juvenile Justice and Court Services

  • Community Mental Health

  • Foster Care

Behavior Management System

TRP’s behavior management system is a diverse blend of approaches designed to promote self-esteem and accountability. Personalized daily behavior charts and skills curriculum provides each client with a unique opportunity for growth.

The Therapeutic Recreation Program offers a range of programming activities from cooperative academic games to artistic outlets that allow youth to explore and express a full range of appropriate recreational and social skills.

A Story of Success from Clients of the
Therapeutic Recreation Program

At age 14, Aiden was emotionally disturbed and violent. At home, he disobeyed his parents and provoked physical fights with his sisters. At school, he let his fists do the talking and refused to participate in class. He spent a lot of time in the school hallway, the principal’s office, and in his bedroom, grounded. Unable to communicate his emotions, Aiden put on a tough-guy persona and shut down personal relationships. He struggled through a cycle of acting out, being punished, and withdrawing emotionally.

Aiden enrolled in Bethany’s Therapeutic Recreation Program. TRP is more than an after-school program. Emotionally disturbed or behaviorally disordered youth learn to replace aggression with socially-appropriate behavior. The program uses leisure time, play, and group sessions to teach teens how to interact appropriately with peers and within the community.

Each day, youth in TRP enjoy a meal, a planned activity, homework time, and group counseling. In addition to the therapeutic benefits, the camaraderie at TRP gives students the opportunity to share experiences with others who are experiencing similar challenges. The strong sense of community helps youth realize they aren’t alone in their struggles and provides them with support as they learn and grow.

In group sessions, Aiden learned strategies to cool off when he was mad. He learned how to identify whether his strong emotions were appropriate for the circumstances. Now, if someone calls him a name, Aiden can utilize what he learned to walk away. He no longer starts fights. He is emotionally grounded. At 16, he is now spending his time with friends, in his classroom, and with his family.