Schools essential to helping at-risk children
Circling the Square
By Ceci Clover, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
January 9, 2013
As students head back to school after their winter break, I wanted to share what Arty Polo, Teton Youth and Family Service’s Van Vleck supervisor, wrote recently in a piece titled “Group home helps with school needs.”
“We know that when children are experiencing difficulties in their families or communities that these difficulties will follow them to other parts of their lives,” Polo wrote. “School is usually the first place these difficulties are noticed. Many times, the initial signs of a child who is struggling will show up in the form of absences, truancy, behavior problems and poor grades.
“The group home/crisis shelter works closely with the schools to increase supervision and make residents more accountable. We collaborate with the school guidance counselors on behavior plans that set clear expectations and consequences. Each resident is assigned a ‘primary’ staff member who checks grades weekly and who is in contact with teachers about assignments, progress and conduct. Primary staff also attends school functions, parent/teacher conferences and sporting events with residents.
“As children move through the program, we help them find structured extracurricular activities where they can make new friends and build a stronger sense of self. Popular activities in the school are football, wrestling, track, drama, band, art and mountaineering clubs. Lastly, each night, residents are expected to participate in an evening study hour, which is a time for homework, reading and writing. Staff members are available for help and encouragement.
“Sometimes we have residents who are from other school districts or who have been expelled. In these cases we work closely with the school in attaining books and work assignments. We have structured time throughout the day that includes not only academic time but also time for physical activity. In some instances we can offer online courses for residents through the Teton County school district so students can maintain good academic standing.”
As the 2012 holiday season becomes a faint glow in the rearview mirror of our lives, many of us are left wrung out, exhausted and physically achy from all the decorating, seemingly endless parties and consumption of rich food. As we consider New Year’s resolutions worth making, I would like to recommend a trip to Bear and Doe Banya Spa, where the owners have blended Old World Russian traditions with a touch of Western culture to create a rustic-contemporary, Russian-style spa found nowhere else in Jackson Hole.
The bear is Gary Kolenich, who has a reputation as the man who can rub that muscle pain right out of your body. His specialty is postural realignment. I’m a fan of the doe, Lisa Rung-Kolenich, whose specialty is ashiatsu Oriental bar therapy (walking on your back), and while I have had her walk on my back, I love her medium-pressure massage that makes my feet sing and the rest of me stand up straight and listen.
Bear and Doe Spa has undergone some adjustments of its own over the past year. The construction dust has been cleared away, and you can experience the smells and healing sensations of its cedar-lined, propane-heated sauna, which I find to be the perfect ending to the singing feet experience provided by Lisa.
Some banya-goers like to go from the sauna to the cold plunge on the outside patio then back to the cedar-infused heat. Others like to take their steaming bodies out on to the patio and lounge around for a bit, sipping restorative tea and enjoying some munchies. I like to trot across the hall from the dry sauna to the rain forest steam room, which has a clever addition to the run-of-the-mill steam room, thought up by Gary the Bear: an 18-inch shower head in the center so you can simply reach over and turn on a cooling rain.
Bear and Doe also has a Far infrared sauna, which I find intriguing but have not yet tried. I have noticed, though, that people look entranced as the reddish-orange infrared glow soaks away their aches and pains.
Along with the fabulous new additions to the Bear and Doe experience, the couple still have the charming massage rooms lined with tongue-and-groove pine paneling that reminds me of the house I grew up in. I find the smell of freshly oiled pine paneling greatly complements the singing of my feet.
And the best part is that the entire facility at 35 E. Simpson is wheelchair accessible. Call Bear and Doe at 732-0863.
Ceci Clover writes weekly on the doings and doers in and around Jackson Hole. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 307-733-8348.