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therapeutic recreation program

The Therapeutic Recreation Program (TRP) is an after-school program designed for at-risk youth between the ages of eight and 17. It utilizes ​recreation and leisure activities as constructive and productive intervention tools. Serving the Black Hawk Area Special Education District and Illinois Quad Cities, the TRP is designed for boys and girls with serious emotional and behavioral problems that may lead to placement outside the home.

The TRP is an evidence-based cognitive and behavioral intervention program that helps children and adolescents address, manage, and reduce aggressive behavior; improve social skills and moral reasoning; and build and develop healthy, positive relationships. 

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.

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. Its curricula for life skills discussion groups include topics sucks as the importance of education, hygiene, world and current events, etc. 

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

  • Special education;

  • Juvenile justice and court services;

  • Community Mental Health; and 

  • Foster care. 

Referrals for the TRP are accepted from the Illinois Department of Children & family Services, school personnel, Black Hawk Area Special Education, Phoenix Day Treatment Program, juvenile court system, and parents. A daily fee for services is also available. ​

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.

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