Care and Behavioral Health Tools Help Gabe Fulfill Dream

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The Snohomish County Youth Programs (SCYP) are comprised of three residential homes that serve boys between the ages of 13 to 18 years-old who are struggling with severe emotional, behavioral and/or psychiatric problems. The Cypress House is one of three specialized residential programs that serves high-risk and adjudicated youth. 

Gabe was a resident of the Cypress House for close to three years. When Gabe arrived, he struggled with severe behavioral issues and did not have the behavior tools needed to control his outbursts and aggression. The SCYP team worked closely with Gabe at various stages during his residency and all the supervisors assisted him including Mary Schroeder, director of Snohomish County Youth Programs; Elizabeth Chambers, Tamarack House program supervisor; Elizabeth Welch, Sequoia House program supervisor; Lindsey McFerran, Cypress House program supervisor and Chris Glans, mental health therapist. The team supported him and worked together to provide him with the tools he needed to manage and get control of his behavior. 

“When I first started working with Gabe at Cypress House, he spent most of his time in his bedroom with limited interactions with staff and other residents. Soon, he started coming out of his shell and building friendships. Gabe gained experience on how to build relationships and was soon able to make friendships with peers his own age at school and work. He became more independent from his mother and started making decisions for himself. I believe learning the relationship building skills helped build Gabe’s confidence to move into a foster home,” shared Elizabeth Chambers.

Often, residents in SCYP are studying in school and are encouraged to get involved in the community via a job or a hobby. In the case of Gabe, his love of animals and ability to work with them became apparent from the start. This was a channel that could be utilized to help him through his troubles and give him the opportunity to care for something. Staff assisted him in finding possible volunteer and work opportunities where he could be with animals and pursue his dream.

Lindsey McFerran, shared, “We really worked with Gabe to stabilize him through a combination of medication management and counseling. During his stay at Cypress House, we noticed that Gabe had a love for animals and became interested in working with them, so we encouraged him to follow his dream.” McFerran added, “After searching for any type of position available, Gabe finally landed a part-time job working at local horse stables. His job at the horse stables helped him to develop his self-esteem, connect with his strengths, and find his own personal sense of self and independent living skills.” 

Gabe graduated from the Cypress House program in three years and that made him eligible for placement in a less restrictive environment. In May 2020, the Department of Children, Youth and Families was able to find a possible foster placement option. At first, he was not interested in moving in, however, with the help of the Cypress House staff and Lindsey McFerran, an in-person visit was set-up so Gabe could check out the living option closer. At the visit, Gabe learned that the family had many animals and that definitely sweetened the deal for him. In less than a week, Gabe transitioned from Cypress House to the foster home. 

Today, Gabe is living in the foster care home where he continues to receive guidance and support, and he is entrenched in caring for all the animals on the property. The Snohomish County Youth Programs follow the Kids at Hope philosophy where the mission is that Kids at Hope inspires, empowers and transforms schools, organizations serving youth and entire communities to create an environment and culture where all children experience success. Gabe is living proof of their teachings and their slogan that states, “All Kids are Capable of Success - No Exceptions!” 

Our staff is so happy for Gabe and his new home, and hope that he continues to follow his dream of having a career that works with animals.

Pictured un-masked - Front Row - Left to Right: Elizabeth Chambers, Tamarack House program supervisor; Mary Schroeder, director of Snohomish County Youth Programs; Lindsey McFerran, Cypress House program supervisor

Back Row - Left to Right:  Elizabeth Welch, Sequoia House program supervisor; and Chris Glans, mental health therapist 

Thursday, October 22, 2020