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Schools & Program Visits - Oct, 1999 Issue #62  

Positive Impact
Boys Program 
Kino Bay, Mexico 

Nancy Masland, Arizona(602) 749-4220
Leslie Goldberg, Massachusetts (781) 749-2074
Louise Kreiner, Massachusetts (978) 373-9561
Visit Report, August 13, 1999

We visited Positive Impact on August 11-13, 1999, staying at a nearby condo, on the beach at the Sea of Cortez. Offering to write this impression, I also speak for Leslie and Louise, who share my enthusiasm and respect for the personnel and program. Immediately upon our arrival we were able lay to rest our concern about safety in a third world country. Hermosillo, one hour away from Kino Bay, has a state-of-the-art Hospital; Kino Bay has an Air-Vac helicopter for emergencies, and an adequate clinic minutes away from the site. The crime rate is zero, and the town off- season is closely knit. Hermosillo families come to their beach homes from May to October, while American families come October – April. The retirees offer to share their expertise in many areas, as mentors. 

Positive Impact is a therapeutic, experiential, cross-cultural, and male-bonding program in which each resident, to varying degrees, expressed the values of caring, trusting and service. Based on Sean Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, the boys learn both “Challenges” and “Thinking Errors,” and apply the process in group meetings, such as Guided Group Interaction (GGI), and throughout the day. A daily log is kept to help manage anger, and other negative behaviors, and the boys appear to be making good and empowering choices. They are invested in their recovery and the program, attend Substance Abuse 12 Step Meetings, group and individual therapy sessions, and are in charge of cooking, cleaning, and general upkeep. We were delighted with the meals, the ‘pride of ownership’ shown in the residence, their enjoyment of all aspects of the schedule, even the early rising hour to run a couple of miles on the beach before breakfast. A special treat was the clamming and shell collecting at Pelican Island, reached by a 10-minute open-air boat ride. The boys’ willingness to discuss choices, share information on the locale, and their obvious affection and admiration for the Life Coaches (Staff), both Mexican and American, are notable. A strong family feeling prevails, with anticipation. The ‘Timeout’ room is a “Solutions” room, voluntarily used for quiet solitude, and so far, not for punishment. 

The Keystone, Pennsylvania education curriculum is individualized for each student, and 3-5 hours of class is scheduled daily. The students feel challenged and fulfilled. Community Service is a major component of this unique program, involving, for example, picking up trash at the school. The Church has had an impact on the community, which is reciprocal. The boy’s interest in the environment has led to teaching the boys about the local flora and fauna, by Jim Anderson, the University of Miami’s special marine project Director and Prescott College member. In addition to the environmental education, Jim Anderson’s father, John, offers visits to a nearby ranch. The boys are eager to share their new knowledge, and are learning Spanish twice a week. The new culture has allowed the boys to drop their masks and need to impress others very quickly, says Craig Rogers, Program Director. 

Open in April of 1999, the results of this cognitive approach are already observable. With only 16 beds available, we feel the majority of boys ages 14-17 with average and above average verbal skills, with no sexual predation issues, would benefit greatly. 

Parents are encouraged to visit prior to their son’s arrival, and to participate in regular workshops. We look forward to placing our first boys in this special residential opportunity. 

Copyright © 1999, 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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