As Natasha approaches the end of her time at CALO I find myself feeling proud to be able to say that we are part of the CALO family and I can tell you that you will have two advocates should we discover another family who is looking for help for a child struggling with attachment issues. You really are building a much needed, quality program.
It seems like after every parent retreat that I attend I feel a need to drop you a line. This retreat is no different except that most of the comments I want to share have nothing to do with the retreat (even though it was another powerful, wonderful experience for Natasha and I), but with all the events and activities that I got to participate in while being on campus Wednesday. I wanted to tell you that I was so impressed with what I saw while being able to observe a student council meeting. I can’t believe that I was fortunate enough to be at CALO during one of these meetings and then to be allowed to attend as Natasha’s parent. Natasha does not share much detail of her daily life with me and even when I ask specifically about student council, she struggles to come up with much to share. I was so pleased to experience the level of respect that filled the conference room during the meeting. I know I should not have been surprised by this because high levels of respect have always flowed from the top down throughout all CALO activities that I have been lucky enough to attend. I found it hard to keep my composure while the students discussed the self-harm recommendation. This issue is one that is close to my heart and to hear the kids really think through the issue and be willing to share their personal experience was powerful for me. I will be curious to see what decisions are made on this recommendation down the road. I just really wanted to thank CALO once again for offering a real student council experience to our kids and frankly, at least some of the issues that are discussed in the CALO student council are far bigger than those of a regular student council like what should be the homecoming theme or what colors should be used for the prom. I know that Natasha never would have been elected to student council at her high school and if she had been elected earlier to the CALO student council, she never would have spoken up and shared her thoughts. I was so proud to see her speak up on several occasions. She seemed to speak for herself at some points and as the Robin’s girl’s team representative at other points. From a parent’s perspective, that was wonderful. I know that she can now speak up because all the staff in attendance have treated her with care and respect over the long haul and she has now experienced that she will not be shot down just for sharing her ideas. What a gift to a child who still, after all this time struggles to believe that she has value as a human being! Thank you to all involved. Just by a fluke of timing, you were able to gift a proud mom too! Very soon now, another student will be able to represent the Robin’s girl’s team and I hope their experience will be as positive as Natasha’s has been.
Wednesday was quite the day for me because I had no idea that I would also be on campus to witness the ground breaking ceremony for the new gym, school and canine facilities. I was so tickled to see the kids get to participate in the event by doing the fly ball competition and I again, had a hard time keeping my composure as I listened to the kids share their stories. It is wonderful to see CALO moving in this direction and I know that Natasha would have loved to have regular access to a real gym during her time at CALO. Perhaps somewhere down the road Natasha and I will be able to return to CALO to see how this new facility and the added living quarters turned out. These are exciting times for you and the other CALO founders as you see your dream really take flight and grow, but these are also exiting times for the CALO family at large and I am so pleased to be part of that family. As Natasha approaches the end of her time at CALO I find myself feeling proud to be able to say that we are part of the CALO family and I can tell you that you will have two advocates should we discover another family who is looking for help for a child struggling with attachment issues. You really are building a much needed, quality program.
April 28, 2010 02:04 by Ken
A few weeks ago one of our current residential coaches got an email from a former coach--Kyle is his name. The current coach asked Kyle about his new job at a different residential treatment facilty. Kyle's response gives interesting insight into working in a level-based, behavior modification residential program. I won't name the new residential program where Kyle works but that facility operates much differently than CALO. I am copying and pasting Kyle's email here, unedited except for names. I (Ken Huey) am glad I work at CALO and can pay more attention to relationships than behavior. Here you go, Kyle writes:
I have been going back in forth on what to email you in regards to the differences with CALO and where I am currently employed. I have thought long and hard as to what to write about. More...
October 20, 2009 00:52 by Scott
Shellie Gavette has been an employee since the day CALO opened its doors. She is a valued member of the CALO team. Shellie graduated from Eldon High School in May of 1998. That summer she began working for the State of Missouri. In August she went to school and received her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. While employed with the State of Missouri Shellie gave birth to her two beautiful children, James and Paige. In 2007 she met Dr. Ken Huey and learned about a new residential treatment facility opening in Lake Ozark, MO. She was interested in a residential coaching position, but wondered if it would be a good fit. She took a chance and joined the CALO team. She was soon promoted from a residential coaching position to a lead residential coaching position (also called a shift lead level I). She enjoyed the learning experience that came with watching CALO’s growth in meeting the needs of both staff and students. She notes “It has been the most trying and most rewarding job I have ever had”. After being a shift lead level I for nine months, she was promoted to a shift lead level II. The promotion didn’t come easily, as with all staff there was a lot of training and countless hours of work involved. During her time as a shift lead level II she was nominated Employee of the Year. She stated, “This was a great accomplishment for me. Who would have known I could grow to know so much and be great at what I wondered intially if I could do at all? What an amazing experience this has been and continues to be”!
Shellie recently accepted the newly created position of Administrative Coordinator. She assists the departments of admissions, human resources, academics; completes audits for licensure and JCAHO requirements and continues to learn and grow within CALO. She has also recently become engaged. Shellie feels that she has accomplished many things in her life, saying “who could ask for more? I have a beautiful family, an amazing fiancé, a great career, and wonderful relationships."