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Schools & Program Visits - Feb, 1998 Issue #50

January Visit Report
Brian and Betty O’Donnell and Thomas and Cathy Carter

Shamrock Educational Alternative

As avid readers of Woodbury Reports, and directors of an emotional growth program, we have always been interested in different programs throughout the world. Having been in the emotional growth business for 30+ years we have visited many programs. On a recent vacation to Jamaica we looked up the treatment center, Tranquility Bay School, which we had seen recently advertised. Low and behold, we were staying just a mile from the Tranquility Bay School. 

The Director was very cordial and gave us a tour of their new facilities, open for about one year. A renovated and refurbished hotel, the school accommodates about 200 boys and girls. The staff of 140 include local teachers, counselors and staff. This adolescent service provides a financial injection into the local community by way of employment, transportation, food and provisions. The school is located on the West end of Jamaica, has excellent facilities with ample room for education, recreation, counseling and medical care. 

We have recently read some negative reports concerning this special school, but as one American humorist said, “Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

We were positively impressed with all facets of their programs and methods they have instituted in educating and developing boys and girls in their care. This program looks to develop young men and women to be responsible for their actions with countless positive affirmations, while using motivational materials and personal examples to have young people develop a picture of themselves in their home and community. 

One of the most impressive aspects of their program was their discharge method. This process includes counseling the parents and teenager as a union to reveal what the young person has experienced and learned. It also introduces the son or daughter back to the family and provides the parents with many tools or suggestions to use. Finally, the program follows up with each graduate for sixty days while they are readjusting and reintroduced into their communities and every sixty days after that. 

Truly, one of the highlights of our vacation was the hospitality and warmth shown by the staff of Tranquility Bay. Getting back to the American humorist, the reports were not greatly exaggerated, they were grossly false and inaccurate. 

(Tranquility Bay has released the following policy statement: “Teen Help has always been committed to assisting troubled teens and their families. At a time when the family structure is being threatened, we can offer various options that can interrupt, and change the direction of that destructive behavior. The options that Teen Help provides are focused on the family healing process. And based on results, the process is working.” - Lon). 

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