Purpose in giving. Students are consistent with asking the question, "What is the purpose of giving?" What they really mean is how does it impact me. And, the real underlying question is what value is there in giving when I’m not receiving what I want or possibly need (stuff, attention, etc.), thus resulting in selfishness. The concept and experience that they are unaware of, is that giving is an experience which requires vulnerability and the internal security (self-worth, personal value, self-concept) to authentically derive meaning out of valuing others (and showing it).
So much of personal growth and emotional development is dependent on an individuals ability to truly give and be able to appreciate what value it brings. The students at Calo are among those fortune adolescence who get to experience life in ways which allow them the opportunity to emotionally and behaviorally grow because of the experience of giving. More often than not, adolescence are consumed with self and this selfishness tends to be magnified when emotional and traumatic issues are present. This magnified selfishness usually manifests itself in extreme behaviors, self destruction, pushing away of healthy relationships, lying, stealing, substance use, and a host of other inappropriate acts. The main difficulty with selfishness is that it breads more selfishness and a feeling of discontent. This feeling of discontent becomes increasingly intense because the destructive methods the student is using to meet the discontent never saturates, gratifies, or reaches any contentment.
At Calo, the students engage in the opportunity to stray from their selfishness and experience an increase of self-worth through giving back to others. This opportunity is captured through the experience of the Caseload Project. This Project is organized by the different therapeutic caseloads (grouped by the students primary therapist) and is designed to give back to the community in ways which are meaningful and purposeful. The therapists work with their students to come up with specific ideas, plans, and ways to implement productive giving to organizations and individuals in the community. The caseloads take the majority of one day to actuate their giving and experience the emotional and physical benefit of truly helping others without expectation of return.
We are excited about this up coming Caseload Project which will take place on Monday March 15, 2010. Therapists and students have organized projects to give back to the community in ways which are most effective for growth and safe for students and the community. The students will engage in follow up groups which will access their experience and provide them the opportunity to present on their projects and the emotional growth they have undergone as a result.