Sanctuary2018-11-08T17:34:49+00:00

Sanctuary

Our Methodology for Success

In 2015 Christ’s Haven began a journey to become a trauma informed community in which children and those who serve them can heal from the wounds that they have endured.  Our guide in this journey has been the Sanctuary Institute of Yonkers, New York (www.sanctuaryinstitute.org).  Dr. Sandra Bloom along with her co-workers developed the Sanctuary Model after years of working with children and adults who had suffered various kinds of trauma.

Everyone experiences trauma at some point in their life; however, childhood trauma can be particularly devastating.  100% of the children at Christ’s Haven have suffered trauma such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse.  Many have gone through times where they did not have enough to eat or a safe secure place to live.  Virtually all come from families devastated by substance abuse, divorce or the mental illness of parents and other adults in the home or family system.  Traumatic events such as these can be incredibly destructive in the life of a child over time.  If there is not a healing intervention such trauma can lead to failed relationships, depression, and the inability to work and move forward in life.

The Sanctuary Model is not ‘faith-based’ per se, but it is completely consistent with the Christian faith that has been the bedrock of Christ’s Haven for its entire history.  The values and practices of Sanctuary are the same values and practices modeled by Jesus and called for in the church by the New Testament.  Our plan is to complete our three-year certification process in July of 2018.  Whenever we achieve certification our work to be a trauma informed community will not be finished—  creating and sustaining such a community demands a life-long commitment.

Trauma Theory

The second pillar of the Sanctuary Model is a group of shared values.  These values are a commitment to non-violence, growth and change, social responsibility, emotional intelligence, democracy, open communication and social learning.  Children and staff attend monthly training sessions to learn to practice our values.  A commitment to non-violence is the foundation of these values.  While bad things can ‘just happen’ in life, the trauma that our kids experienced was perpetrated on them by others.  Communities that adopt the Sanctuary Model, work hard to ensure that children and staff enjoy physical, emotional, moral and social safety.  Such an environment is essential to healing.

The 7 Commitments

The second pillar of the Sanctuary Model is a group of shared values.  These values are a commitment to non-violence, growth and change, social responsibility, emotional intelligence, democracy, open communication and social learning.  Children and staff attend monthly training sessions to learn to practice our values.  A commitment to non-violence is the foundation of these values.  While bad things can ‘just happen’ in life, the trauma that our kids experienced was perpetrated on them by others.  Communities that adopt the Sanctuary Model, work hard to ensure that children and staff enjoy physical, emotional, moral and social safety.  Such an environment is essential to healing.

S.E.L.F.

The third pillar of Sanctuary is a common language.  We talk about safety, emotions, loss and the future.  This S.E.L.F. model is the lens we use to solve problems, work on our relationships and promote safety.  As previously stated, true safety is more than physical safety.  It involves taking care with our words.  We don’t speak disrespectfully.  We don’t gossip.  We don’t disparage, demean or belittle others.  Such behaviors are dangerous to the emotional, social and moral safety of individuals and communities.  To avoid such behaviors, our children and staff must be aware of and manage our emotions.  Often, unmanaged and unrecognized emotional reactions lead to behaviors that endanger us and those around us.

Our emotions are usually connected to losses that we experience.  Our children have endured many loses such as the loss of family, home, friendships and so on.  Our staff experience loss when kids they have loved and cared for leave to return home or to move on with their lives.  The Sanctuary Model teaches that all change is loss.  Finally, S.E.L.F. teaches us to focus on the future.  The Sanctuary Model is all about hope.  We believe that people can heal and overcome life’s adversity with the help of a healing community and faith.

The Sanctuary Toolkit

The fourth pillar of Sanctuary is the Sanctuary Toolkit.  Sanctuary is not all theory—  theory is worthless without it changing individuals and organization.  How do we practice the Sanctuary Model?  One way is to use the toolkit, which includes community meetings, safety plans, self-care plans and red flag reviews among others.  A Community Meeting is a daily self-check.  All Christ’s Haven children and staff participate in daily Community Meetings.  For example, the office staff gathers every day at 10 AM to ask each other, “How are you feeling?” “What are your goals?”  and “Who will you ask for help?” Houseparents and their children have Community Meetings each day as well.  Community Meetings recognize the impact that emotions can have and our need to acknowledge those emotions and to make plans to manage them appropriately.  A crucial part of such plans is to ask for help when we need it.

The Sanctuary Model recognizes the importance of every member of the community planning for the management of their emotions and committing themselves to engage in behaviors that ensure our emotional, physical and spiritual well being.  All members of the Christ’s Haven community create Safety Plans—lists of simple, on-the-spot actions to help alleviate fear & anxiety in the moment—as well as Self Care Plans, which are more fleshed out, day-to-day outlines for balanced living.  Examples of things found on these Plans include folks utilizing prayer, exercise, hobbies, breathing & meditation and so on to care for themselves.  If you aren’t feeding your spiritual, social, emotional and physical being you won’t be able to care for others and you leave yourself vulnerable to emotional meltdowns and other destructive behaviors.  A Red Flag Review allows any child or adult in the organization to call together a group to help solve a problem that has resisted an easy solution.  Such tools are some of the ways we practice the model.

How Can I Get Involved?

The old saying many hands make light work is so true. There are so many ways you can get involved, and we need your hands!

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