The only constant when navigating the world of behavioral and mental health is change and Ironwood is no different. Ironwood is always looking for better, new, and scientifically backed ways to assist residents in developing the tools, skills, and coping strategies to grow and thrive within their evolving world. As such Ironwood is working on teaching the staff different approaches to utilize to build healthy professional relationships, role model healthy boundaries, demonstrate respect and promote dignity with the residents at Ironwood.
On Wednesday a brand-new system was introduced, privileges were becoming a tool provided for us to aid our focus and motivation. Every week your behavior would be charted and discussed for qualification in privileges. This brand new system helped me to spark the start of my success and hope to positively move forward in my program.
This issue of the weekly update is dedicated to Ironwood’s sense of community. Anyone who has skimmed Ironwood’s advertising campaigns will often hear of this community, but what exactly does it entail? Ironwood’s community is made up of all individuals who live or work on campus; these being residents and staff respectively. The backbone of our community is a give and take between these two groups.
When you walk into the Ironwood barn you feel the energy. One of the biggest energies that you feel is Frankie’s. Frankie was one of the brightest and lovable horses you will ever meet. He was kind, understanding, funny, dorky, stubborn, and bubbly. When you would groom Frank he would tell you who’s boss. He would use his nose and push open the stall door.
Autumn has arrived and it is very apparent. The temperature has dropped and the leaves are changing at what seems to be a rapid pace. The changing seasons match up quite well with the changes happening at Ironwood right now. So much has changed in the short time I’ve witnessed. Big plans are in the works, lots of new staff being trained, and a large cluster of new intakes. Things are always shifting and changing around here.
I have been working in education in various capacities going on 24 years. As I reflect back on what I have learned over the years, certain conversations standout. One such conversation happened around 10 years ago as I ran into a colleague on Saturday “night on the town.”
It has been cooling down and the weather has been very pleasant with temperatures in the mid to low sixties and many days reaching low seventies. It has been getting darker earlier which is a sign that winter is upon us. The leaves are changing and are becoming vibrant colors of orange and red. Recently the barn has began starting it’s winter preparations.
So far, the hurricane did not do much to Ironwood, and on the day of the hurricane, as the skies were opening up, the Farmhouse was doing deep clean. Both crews did pretty good and, even though we could not go outside to release some energy, we still completed deep clean in a short period of time which meant we had some free time afterwards.
Ironwood has had many horses come and go. Few horses remain from when I first arrived. Ironwood has a special Equine program that allows residents to learn what being responsible for another living thing is like. Recently, the Farmhouse barn has received a new horse. Her name is Athena.
The skills residents learn in the barn provide them with the empathy, commitment, work ethic, responsibility, and people / animal relations which are essential to becoming hard working and caring citizens.