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New Perspectives - Oct, 1994 Issue #30 

the next step
Taos, New Mexico
Jonathan Pancost, Director

Conceived in 1988 by Jonathan Pancost, Toiyabe Institute's goal is to provide an environment "for adolescents needing emotional support and a safe environment in which to grow and learn....in the form of an educational adventure." In working toward that goal, the Institute has developed wilderness adventure exploring the culture and geography of the Southwest and elsewhere through wilderness adventure, skiing Northern New Mexico, Bike Tours, Whitewater Courses in the Pacific Northwest, Mountaineering Courses, and House building and service projects. They also have Parent River Trips so parents can benefit from their own experience that is similar to that of their child's. 

The Residential Interim Program will probably be of most interest to parents of children currently attending emotional growth schools and programs, because it is designed as a transition, and to support the newly found skills and attitudes the child is trying to take back in his/her reentry to society. 

The idea is to give "each individual the time and support to flex his or her newly learned behavior, making the possibility of success more certain than hypothetical.... This program allows each adolescent the chance to test his or her new self-image within the context of society, yet with the ever present acceptance of the group. It is also designed as a safe harbor for teenagers in need of temporary placement between programs and school, during school breaks, or during rough emotional times." 

It is voluntary and "runs almost like an on-call service, adapting to the schedules and time restraints of the clientele." Activities can include hiking and floating Rio Grande, visits to "local events such as rodeos and fiddling contests, seminars with botanists, historians, geologists and primitive skills professionals, and cultural sites of the area" with building and community service projects. 

"The hope is to teach not only a new sense of personal strength and self-esteem but also a feeling of cultural diversity, tolerance for that diversity, and an underlying unity between all people and species. Students stay as long as they need or wish. Some students reside at Toiyabe and attend local schools." 

Copyright 1994, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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