Regression is a common problem after graduation from a residential therapeutic program. With this in mind, Montana Academy decided to address this by building a self-contained transition program for its students. Students move into town from the campus and live in several well-established beautiful houses in downtown Kalispell. There they embark on a program that provides them with real challenges within a structured and supportive community. There they have the opportunity to practice independence as well as communal living surrounded by supportive and encouraging staff.
An Intermediate Step
The Sky House program has the goal of producing competent young adults by promoting independence, teaching valuable life-skills, encouraging responsible community involvement and supporting social and emotional growth. Students coming from campus are already accustomed to functioning with consistent structure and routine.
Once they arrive at Sky House, they have the opportunity to create their own structure for a healthy balance of study, volunteer/job, exercise and recreation. Staff members are responsible for helping students follow through with individualized goals while supporting their ability to handle increased freedom as they demonstrate readiness for a more independent young adult life. Students continue therapy and follow through with addictions work both individually and in groups.
Students learn to recover from their inevitable mistakes and to use the support of peers and adult staff in doing so. Students continue to improve communication with their families through continued family therapy and make frequent visits home as their commitments permit
A Closer Look
No path is the same for individual students and life at the Sky House makes special note with each new arrival. Building upon previous successes, each student establishes goals and objectives, in collaboration with the treatment team, that ideally work towards increased confidence and autonomy. The Sky House routine provides students with balance between obligatory and unstructured time promoting increased self-guidance and building sustainability.
The Sky House focuses on several program areas and incorporates these elements creatively into a dynamic schedule. Based on where each individual arrives academically, that student either is integrated into Flathead High School or may enroll in Flathead Valley Community College. Separate from academia, students are able to choose from a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the local community and are expected to fulfill a specific number of hours each week. As freedoms increase, students are able to opt for paying positions and embark on the job search with staff support.
The Sky House’s Life Skills curriculum encompasses formal lessons as well presents itself in a number of practical problem-solving situations. Students are provided local gym memberships and are taught balance and nutrition in shopping and meal planning. Family Systems work as well as individual and group therapy are part of the routine which now focus on transition planning and the various experiences of more independent living. Students who continue to seek addiction support attend a specialized Sky House addiction study group and have the added benefit of the local recovery community through meetings and sponsors.