My first year as President & CEO was certainly a challenge. The confusion, fear, and heartbreak caused by COVID-19 has weighed heavy on our staff and clients alike. I am proud, however, of the determination we saw from everyone as we pulled together to solve problems as they arose.
During this difficult time, we have managed to continue to create positive outcomes. Our new Vocational Learning Center on the Milford campus is complete and we are so excited to share our new curricula in automotive repair, culinary arts, and modern manufacturing with the upper school students at Charles F. Hayden School. We are confident that this opportunity will help better prepare our older youth to find jobs and have successful adulthoods.
Please feel free to reach out to me to discuss this new education program or any other programs we have at BGV. Stay safe and healthy and let’s hope for a more “normal” time soon!
Kim Shaunesey, Ph.D.
President & CEO
More than 75% of the children helped by MDFT have increased school attendance and have avoided involvement in the juvenile justice system.
BGV’s wide range of behavioral health services offers a variety of community interventions, therapies, and residential group homes. No matter what challenge a child faces, BGV wants to ensure that our clients are given every chance to overcome the obstacles they are facing and build a fulfilling future.
MDFT is a program for children who are at risk of substance abuse and are exhibiting emotional and behavioral difficulties. BGV therapists go to the youth’s home, provide one-on-one therapy with the youth, counseling with the parents, and offer activities and therapy to help ease interactions between the youth and the parents. This program provides the children with the tools they need to feel better about themselves, build stronger relationships with their peers, and reduce stress. It helps the parents improve their communication and relationship with their child and ultimately reduces the chance of substance abuse on the part of the child.
In our first year, more than 70% of parents reported reduced stress about parenting and reduced depression.
BGV works with families to help them relate to each other in a safe and constructive manner so the child can stay with his or her family. When this isn’t possible, BGV offers therapeutic foster care. BGV ensures that every child has someone looking out for them and wanting them to succeed.
In fiscal year 2020, BGV began the state’s first Parent Support Services (PSS) group. This program offers parents and caregivers guidance in developing emotional strength in children and focuses on the attachment between parent and child. Similar programs have proven to decrease parental stress and depression, improve a child’s social and emotional outcomes, and ultimately reduce the chance of abuse or family rupture in the future. One does not need to be referred to PSS — this new service is available to any parent or caregiver who feels it could help them.
New Vocational Learning Center on Milford campus
Charles F. Hayden School, a state-approved K-12 special education school, welcomes children who are having trouble finding the support they need in their home school. Our teachers and therapists are skillfully trained and ready to help any child in need to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. Hayden School offers a wide range of life and job skills opportunities for its upper school students.
In 2020, construction began on our Vocational Learning Center on the Milford campus. The goal of this center is to create real world experiences in the areas of automotive repair, computer-aided design (CAD) and culinary arts in addition to developing the necessary life skills to face the challenges of adulthood. These marketable skills can be carried into the job market, build self-confidence, and provide a link to higher learning possibilities.
Whether pursing an advanced degree, further vocational training, or entering the job market directly, Charles F. Hayden School has a robust transitional program. To make that more of a reality we have partnered with Gateway and Housatonic Community Colleges to help provide curriculum and to offer college credits for our students.
BGV knows that achieving economic self-sufficiency in early adulthood is one of the biggest predictors of future success. This center will strengthen the foundation of at-risk youth as they take their next steps and enter early adulthood.
80% of participants complete our HAMILTON program with the resources they need to be successful in school.
BGV offers residential programs and in-home therapy with a goal to keep youth out of detention centers and prevent the life-altering experience of being incarcerated.
HAMILTON is a residential home in Bridgeport where boys are provided a short-term respite alternative to a detention program. The boys receive therapy, education, life skills training, mentoring, and positive community involvement. When a teen has completed the program, BGV works with the whole family and local education agencies to ensure a successful transition back into his home school and to help maintain the progress made during his time in the HAMILTON program.
When COVID-19 became a reality, BGV sprang into action and quickly found solutions that ranged from initiating telemedicine therapy sessions to improving air filtration systems to keep residents, students, and staff safe without abandoning the needs of the families we serve.
When Hayden School was forced to go remote, BGV received emergency funding to purchase laptops and Chromebooks for teachers and students to make virtual learning possible for everyone. Our staff members drove to each student’s home twice a week to deliver breakfast and lunch for the entire week and to check in on the health and status of each family.
When the pandemic struck, PPE was very hard to come by. BGV was incredibly lucky to have the support of its board members who donated funds, thermometers, and food for staff. Businesses in the community also stepped up including Speed of Sound Technologies of Milford, who donated face shields and Superior Cleaners, who sewed face masks for BGV in order to keep our staff and residents safe.
Our staff worked tirelessly throughout the worst of the pandemic, risking their health and that of their own families in order to keep our residents and students safe. While no amount of gifts and acknowledgments could adequately express our appreciation for them, the board, leadership, and community provided as many opportunities as possible to show our admiration and gratitude for their hard and selfless work.