QCH Residents are Stepping Their Way to Success

A unique incentive program at Quinte Children’s Homes (QCH) is encouraging residents to achieve their personal goals while learning good citizenship at the same time. All of QCH’s clients – children and youth from six to 17 years old – are participating in “Steps to Success,” an engaging initiative that motivates kids to take positive actions while thinking about the needs of others.

“Every child at QCH has a plan of care with a number of goals in various areas,” says Terry Stevenson, Executive Director of Stevenson, Waplak & Associates. “The ‘Steps to Success’ program supports these goals by giving the children visual indicators of their achievements, whether they are related to academics, personal care or social interaction.”

When a child completes a goal, he or she receives a cardboard shoe. The child decorates the shoe, writes his or her name on it and places it on one of three “roads” on the wall. Each road signifies a shared goal. Currently, the roads represent donations to Big Sisters/Big Brothers, the John Howard Society and Applewood Academy for Progressive Learning student (Michelle Hall).

“The children are ‘stepping’ their way to the top and working together toward some very meaningful goals,” says Stevenson. “As adults, we hope to motivate them to look to the future and remember that their personal successes matter to themselves and others.”

One child might have a goal of increasing academic performance by attending classes regularly and completing all homework. Another might plan meals and purchase groceries for the week using a budget of $40. Another might develop a plan to build his social skills, sharing ideas of how he would like to use his free time at home and out in the community.

“The goals vary, but the children are all motivated by the same desires – to achieve personal success and contribute to the community while doing so,” says Stevenson.

When the shoes reach the top of any given “road,” the designated organization receives 10 points on their point tracker. The process then repeats nine times. When an organization reaches 100 points, QCH donates money or a needed item. The resident who placed his or her shoe in the final spot on the road gets to present the cheque or donated item to the recipient on behalf of QCH.

At the end of December, Stevenson presented QCH staff with a jar of jelly beans. He asked them to guess the significance of the jelly beans as well as the number of jelly beans in the jar.

“The 549 jelly beans represented the number of goals that our foster families initiated on behalf of the children in 2012,” notes Stevenson. “The jar provided a concrete representation of how far our residents are progressing in achieving their goals.” Aptly named parent therapist Victoria Foster won the jelly beans by correctly guessing how many candies were in the jar.

If you’d like to help a child succeed, contact us for more information about becoming a parent therapist.