Alaska’s Booth Assists Teens, Families
The Booth Memorial Youth and Family Services Center in Anchorage, Alaska, is all about making change happen. The Booth Center, under the direction of Administrators Majors Robert and Jean Anderson, operates a multi-faceted program geared to make a positive impact on a wide array of need and neglect within the community. Anne Dennis-Choi is program director.
Booth offers an Intensive Treatment Residential/Maternity program that provides individual, group, and family therapy, parenting support, and case management to teen girls. The program hopes to break the cycle of abuse that has affected many of its residents. More than 30 girls, their families, and infants were helped last year.
Marian is one of those girls. She is in her second year of college, works part time as a teachers aide, and is on her way to becoming a high school counselor. But her history before entering Booth is alarming. Both of her parents abused alcohol and there was violence in the home. Her father went to jail for sexually abusing his children when she was only 6-years-old. By the time Marian was 11-years-old, she had experienced sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. At age 14, she decided life was too painful to continue living and attempted suicide. That’s when she came into the Booth Residential Program. The counselors at Booth were able to help Marian come to terms with her traumatic childhood, build her self esteem, replace her self-destructive behaviors with positive ones, and create dreams for her future.
As well as offering residential care, the Booth Center has successful day treatment and outpatient programs. The Day Treatment Program helps adolescent boys and girls, and is the only nonprofit, adolescent day treatment program in Anchorage. Last year the center served more than 30 clients and their families, and provided drug and alcohol counseling to more than 60 addicted teens
Booth’s Maternity Outpatient Program offers prenatal health, childbirth and parenting classes to low income, high risk families. Families in crisis also receive emergency supplies of diapers, formula, clothing, and baby food. Last year, more than 400 families used this program’s services.
Booth Memorial also provides a Newborn Nursery and Development Center for infants of teen mothers who are attending high school. This is the only licensed nursery in the state that can accept infants as young as one week old. The young mothers receive parenting instruction and emotional support that will enable them to stay in school and finish their education. The Dr. Joyce Murphy Scholarship Program also enables alumni of Booth’s programs to attend college.
All Booth programs have a common goal of meeting community need and implementing change–change that helps clients overcome life’s obstacles and move forward in a positive direction.