EVANSVILLE, Ind. – School can be an overwhelming challenge for youth who are struggling with emotional, behavioral, or family problems. This past September, the United Methodist Youth Home in Evansville opened a Day Treatment Program for youth who are having difficulty making adequate academic progress in school.

Matt (not his real name) attended a public high school and two alternative high schools in Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) before he was placed in the Day Treatment Program.

As Matt explained, “I never liked school, period. This is kind of similar to school, but it’s not. It’s not more laid back because there are a lot of rules, but I would rather be here than school. I just hated school.”

The Day Treatment Program is designed for youth who are struggling academically, are failing to make adequate academic progress, or who have dropped out of school. All participants are placed in the program by the court.

Participants attend daily from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. When they arrive, they are served breakfast and hold a community meeting. Then they spend the morning working individually and at their own pace on GED materials. The Day Treatment Program also hopes to be able to collaborate with the school corporation, so students also can earn high school credits, either by working on materials from their home school or on-line courses now offered by EVSC.

At noon, participants are served lunch, then have a recreational activity such as basketball, volleyball, or jumping on the trampoline. Another hour of school work in the afternoon is followed by a daily group. Four times a week the group focuses on developing cognitive skills, such as self-esteem, problem solving, anger management, or healthy lifestyles. Once a week, the group focuses on independent living skills.

Participants learn about home management, budgeting, or meal planning and preparation. For example, to learn meal planning and preparation skills, participants plan a menu, make a shopping list, create a budget, shop for the food, and prepare and eat the meal.

The program uses a reward system to motivate participants. They earn money for attendance, good behavior, working on their GED materials and completing each of the five GED subjects. The program pays the $60 fee for GED testing and participants can earn $50 for passing the GED test and receiving a GED certificate.

The Indiana Department of Child Services approves all placements in UMYH’s Day Treatment Program and pays a daily rate for each participant.

For more information about this program and the United Methodist Youth Home in Evansville, visit www.umyh.com or call 812-479-7535 (Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m.). 

“I would rather be here than school. I just hated school.”

– Matt, Day Treatment Program student