ARISE Programs Help Struggling Juvenile Justice Facility

A few years ago, ARISE trained the staff of Thompson Academy in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The staff’s hard work and dedication have resulted in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice awarding Thompson with an 86% “commendable” rating, qualifying them for “deemed status,” a title that only four other facilities in Florida earned that year.

A few years ago, ARISE Foundation began an intensive series of training programs at Thompson Academy, a 154-bed residential facility for moderate-risk juvenile offenders. Before ARISE came to Thompson, the facility struggled with low staff morale and below-average quality assurance ratings.

ARISE launched a comprehensive approach at Thompson, not only training the staff to conduct lively ARISE group discussions and activities with the incarcerated youth, but to work with the staff themselves to help them better cope with their stress. ARISE trained 111 staff members in its one-of-a-kind ARISE Drop it at the Door workshop. They certified 49 staff members as ARISE Life Skills Group Facilitators, giving those individuals the knowledge and confidence to engage the youth and lead them through the ARISE life skills curricula. ARISE also put one staff member through its comprehensive Master Life Skills Training. Having a Master Trainer on staff at Thompson allows that person to continue to train additional staff members as ARISE Life Skills Group Facilitators, keeping the program going indefinitely and helping thousands of young men learn vital life skills.

The extensive ARISE training programs at Thompson Academy, along with the enthusiasm and determination of the staff itself, led to widespread change throughout the facility. The staff is better able to handle their emotions, leading to less stress and higher job satisfaction. Morale improved and the facility achieved “deemed status” after years of below-average ratings.

For almost 30 years, ARISE, a nonprofit foundation, has functioned as a developer and publisher of unique life-management skills curricula and staff training programs. Created to reach at-risk, incarcerated youth in detention centers and secure facilities as well as other youth. ARISE is also utilized as a powerful prevention tool for teenagers and young adults and the people who care for them.  ARISE programs consist of interactive group discussions and activities designed to break the ice quickly and capture the attention of even the most introverted participants. ARISE gives structure to well-meaning but disorganized programs, moving away from lectures and into dynamic group conversations where the youth are involved and talking about their own experiences.