Urs Jenzer, a Swiss social worker and his wife Francoise, a trained nurse, have recently opened up their home in Samoa to teen-agers who need to get back on track after struggling in their home, school or community. Prior to moving to Samoa, Jenzer spent 25 years in Switzerland working with troubled teens. In addition, the Jenzers have raised their own children.
Time-Out works with only three teens at any one time. Jenzer believes that struggling teens can reap more benefits (and often in a shorter time) from living in a small, family-like environment with positive role models than from a setting that works serving a larger number of teens who are dealing with similar problems. Time-Out concentrates on activities of daily living including gardening, caring for domestic animals, work on buildings and boats - all projects designed to build self-esteem and self-confidence. The island setting offers great adventure opportunities - from sailing to jungle trekking and horse-back riding. Time-Out also incorporates hands-on cultural experiences by introducing students to the traditional life of indigenous Samoans.
The average length of stay for the 14 - 20 year olds is three to six months. There is no academic program as Time-Out focuses on behavioral change that will support success in school upon the student's return to his or her home. Parents are involved in weekly calls and email, and are always welcome to visit.
[This New Perspective was written by our Research Affiliate Judith E. Bessette, PhD, Nashotah, Wisconsin. Judi got this information through research on the phone and via the program website.]