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Divorce Recovery Workshop - Teens

About the DRW Teens

Although DRW Teens follows the same weekly topics as is the adult program, it is a bit different because teens do not experience divorce in the same way as their parents. Our focus is on providing a safe, non-judgmental place for teens to process and express the emotions they’re experiencing. Part of this security comes from knowing that we will respect their need for confidentiality – what they say here, stays here. We don’t try to teach or lecture; we let kids be kids, and we listen when they need to talk. Fun is a big theme in our sessions. We emphasize that everyone’s experience is distinct and we insist that everyone is treated with respect.

Our Objectives

We try to communicate some basic truths about hope. We understand that this is a scary and confusing time for teens and that they each are at different points emotionally, as well as cognitively, so their responses will differ. But by the end of our eight weeks together, our goal is that all the teens will have heard these messages to some degree:

• “I am not alone – lots of other kids are going through the same thing.”
• “I am not to blame – this is not about me.”
• “I am valuable – whatever is happening around me, I still matter.”
• “I understand that this is a process – I will survive and be OK.”

Our Leadership

Our adult leaders are motivated to spend time with teens at a time of crisis in their lives. As leaders, our goal is to communicate a sense of genuine presence, not a list of “do’s and don’ts.” We typically have at 2-4 adult leaders, both male and female. We want the teens to have every chance of connecting one-on-one with an adult whenever they’re ready. We also have several “youth counselors” from our church who have been through divorce themselves. We often bring in outside helpers to lead sessions –therapists, ministers and kids or parents who have gone through divorce and are willing to talk candidly about it.

Our Format

We follow a standard format each week, but the specifics depend on the needs and maturity level of the group. Every group is different, and we want to be as responsive as we can.

A typical session of the DRW Teens looks like this:

  • Arrive, Mingle & Munch – We like to begin with a bit of casual banter because it’s a good way to make teens feel welcome. We ask that teens have dinner before they come but we’ll always have some munchies & drinks on hand.
  • Group Activities/Discussion – Each week, we plan activities and exercises based on the workshop’s weekly topic designed to help the teens think about their feelings, families and their own role in this recovery process.
  • More Fun – We like to lighten up the mood and end on a fun note with more recreational time. We’ve learned that playing together is the best way to break down barriers of awkwardness and feeling out-of-place. We have a variety of games on hand, from board games to dance games.
  • Closing/Looking Ahead – We take a moment to reflect on our evening, remind the teens what we’ll be doing next week and what they may possibly need to bring.

Our Tentative Schedule of Group Activities

Week 1 Information Sheets: “Getting to Know You” Sharing Our Stories

Week 2 Family Tree: “Where do I come from?”

Week 3 Show & Tell: “What matters to me?”

Week 4 “Teenager Bill of Rights”

Week 5 Letter to Mom/Dad: “From the wounded heart”

Week 6 Guest(s): “Sharing Their Stories”

Week 7 Putt-Putt Golf & Games Field Trip: “The power of play”

Week 8 Affirmation exercise: “I matter!” Celebration in main building: “A future with hope!”

Optional activities, depending on group: Movie night, Playground, Crafts, Games & Music in the Youth Suite, etc.

Logistics

The DRW Teens meets in the Pusey House, across Park Avenue from the main FBC building. On the first week, we’ll meet the teens as they arrive at the main building and escort them to the Pusey House. For the remaining weeks, they should just come over to the Pusey House on their own. Each week, we’ll make sure our leaders are there to greet the teens when they arrive, and we’ll escort them back to the Church at the end of the session. Sometimes, we may go out to Putt-Putt or other activities. When we do, please be assured that each teen will be supervised at all times.

If your teen has any special needs that we should be aware of, please let us know. We want to do everything possible to make this a productive experience!

 
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