CHD’s Therapeutic After School program, located in Holyoke, Massachusetts, serves up to 20 youth from 7 to 18 years old. These children and adolescents often have emotional and behavioral issues, which make it hard for them to be in a traditional after school setting. They struggle to get along with other people, make friends and interact appropriately in the community. The therapeutic After School Program (TASP) focuses on improving social interaction – something that’s vital to people’s happiness and success. Many of the activities, from games to cooking to other cooperative pursuits, are designed to help youth learn to interact with their peers. Community based activities like going to the park, movies, out to eat or on longer trips like to the Southwick Zoo, are both learning experiences and promote positive functioning in the community. Imagine a child who didn’t have friends, who’s behavior was such that a trip too the movies or bowling was out of the question, now able to go swimming with friends! These small things mean everything to these children and to their future.
TASP also includes time and support to complete homework and either a snack and dinner or two snacks per day depending on the day of the week. Adolescents are also helped to find and apply to jobs and colleges.
TASP is more than an after school program. They are involved with all aspects of a child’s life, working with parents, teachers, therapists and other people to support the child and help them be successful in all areas.
Referrals to the Therapeutic After School Program are made through the Department of Mental Health- Mass.gov