How time flies – it’s been 2½ years! So much has happened, but the blog is best to provide meaningful help and resources to families seeking to help their struggling son or daughter.
Here is a brief recap:
The Family Foundation School/Allynwood Academy closed in July, 2014. The owners, the Argiros family, decided to close after 30 years in business. Unfortunately, the schools’ founder Tony Argiros was in seriously declining health (and died in August, 2014). Mike, Annie and Rita, the three adult children of Betty and Tony Argiros, who returned to the school with their spouses to take on leadership roles, had successfully navigated the school from harsh and often abusive practices to a legitimate, Joint Commission accredit therapeutic boarding school with national reputation (and even international with the invitation to present at a conference in London and present to the House of Commons). Yet, they each felt drawn to pursue other interests and careers. Rita and Sid wanted to retire (unfortunately Rita passed away about a year following the school’s closure as she and Sid were building their retirement home). Mike and Cindy, and Annie and Gerald pursued other career interests. The school’s campus was sold to the neighbor French Woods Performing Arts Camp who now uses the campus as an adjunct sports camp. The closing was a difficult process for all – but the ways the students came together, honored and paid tribute to the legacy was truly a moving experience. Rita decided to stay on through the end of the year to continue to provide educational support to students who had difficulty finding alternative placements, or those who would be unduly harmed by abruptly changing schools. Many reputable private therapeutic schools have closed since, most with only a few days notice. None demonstrated the commitment that Rita and the Argiros family did to the students in their care.
I went on to work for Daytop New Jersey (helping with program enhancement, admissions, marketing and developing their new web-site) and High Focus Centers. In the latter role, I developed an innovative, new emerging adult treatment and transition program called Waypointe. I have continued to work directly with youth with social skill challenges leading the Friends Group, a therapeutic youth group I founded 20 years ago. I also continue to work with children and families providing in home behavior and trauma support through the Mental Health Association, and provide educational help and support to families through Celebrate Success Consulting. I also have worked with local school districts providing in-home therapeutic and school transitional services to students with significant emotional disabilities.
Enough about me – now onto more topics.