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New Perspectives - Dec, 1995 Issue #37 

A Ministry of Ridgeview Baptist Church 
"Where we teach your young person the way to make a living and The way to live."

Ray Swan, Assistant Director 
North Augusta, Georgia 

"The focus of the program at Hope Homes, Inc. is to encompass the total being spiritually, intellectually, physically, and socially. Our specific method is to employ a unique structured environment involving three elements. These elements are the Family, Church, and School. The structure will include a combination of school work, chores, youth activities, sports, and church attendance." 

Their approach to working with young people consists of what they call Motivated Aptitude Program (MAP). This is a "system of intensified structure (coupled with love) that encourages (either) reparation, or regeneration of the resident's Spirit." "MAP incorporates a four tier system that is designed to provide solutions to the problems encountered when inappropriate behavior creates a cycle of frustration and failure. We gain a working knowledge of the reasons behind such failure; we develop strategies that work to improve behavior." 

1.1 FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL. "All humans have a need to know what is expected from them in any situation. This level ... provides the basic behavioral philosophy that encompasses the rules and regulations of Hope Homes, Inc., as well as the specific expectations of our staff. We begin to create a positive environment by stressing the three "F's". They are: Fair, Firm, and Friendly." 

1.2 DEMONSTRATION LEVEL. "We demonstrate and explain what to expect, with the anticipation that each resident wants to abide by the rules. But, if it is necessary to restate those rules for class/dorm, we restate them at this level as though the resident didn't get the message the first time. This helps eliminate the negative reaction which could result in more uncooperative behavior in the future." 

1.3. CONSEQUENCE LEVEL. When any resident, in one way or another, fails to follow the rules he must be held responsible for his behavior and be subject to the logical consequences. A variety of consequences are utilized depending on the resident's age and severity of the offense.... Every effort is made to make sure the consequence is immediate. Every effort, also, is to make the consequence logical and consistently applied.... With this approach, we minimize or eliminate the need to nag, lecture, or threaten." 

1.4 ANALYSIS LEVEL. "It is safe to conclude that for the resident who demonstrates an inability to profit from consistently applied logical consequences, there are other mitigating circumstances which promote his counter-productive behavior. At this stage we conduct a simple five-day behavior analysis to determine into which of the three behavioral categories the resident fits. We are able to determine whether the resident is: 1) seeking attention, 2) has a developmental handicap, 3) reacting from an underlining emotional problem." 

Hope Homes is based in Christianity as a residential, healing environment for children who have been abused, neglected or otherwise need a healing environment. They do extensive fund raising so are able to keep their tuition extremely low. 

Copyright 1995, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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