Partners in Process

Transcript

Narrator:

Partners in Process implements a unique drug treatment program for youth in conflict with the law. The youth learn to trust and understand their actions and drug-use motivations through Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

Melanie Gray:

Program Director, Partners in Process Equine Learning Centre: Our program is Partners in Process Equine Learning Center. It is a life skills program with the use of horses.

The majority of people feel or think this is a riding program. It has nothing to do with riding. It is all on the ground with the horses. It is all about life skills and is all about the individual.

Clayton Conlan:

Federal Crown Prosecutor for Grey County: Well this is the first formal program for young persons charged with drug offences in Grey County.

Prior to Partners in Process we had kind of an ad hoc diversion program where we would offer young persons the opportunity to make charitable donations or to do volunteer community service work at The Food Bank or the Canadian Cancer Society or at the local arena but that was unorganized, it was informal. It didn't have the structure that Partners in Process provides us with.

Melanie Gray:

I just kinda wonder which horse maybe represents you today, like what's going on in your life...

Melanie Gray:

Program Director, Partners in Process Equine Learning Centre: Some of the youth that have come through are in different family situations. Some have no families, some are in care giving situations, foster homes. Youth that have been on the street come through the program.

Clayton Conlan:

Federal Crown Prosecutor for Grey County: The young persons come into the normal system, then they come here, they do several sessions. It may be three sessions, it may be five sessions, it may be more than five sessions. And I see that at the end of that road that young person is a different person than he or she was when they were first charged.

Melanie Gray:

Program Director, Partners in Process Equine Learning Centre: The changes are brought about because horses have a God-given sense spiritually, physically, emotionally and they teach us to live in the moment. And having that live 1,200 pound animal out there that is a living, breathing, non-judgmental animal in that arena, in that environment with you, it really gets them thinking.

Melanie Gray:

Made you run again, made you kinda, remember we were talking about. You're the little horse...

Melanie Gray:

Program Director, Partners in Process Equine Learning Centre: Within the first 20 minutes, what happens is being live with the animals, the core issue comes out in everybody. Nothing is held back, they just say why they got into drugs, whether it is peer pressure, whether it's family dynamics at home. The majority of them doing their substances is because there is an underlying issue of why they are doing it.

Melanie Gray:

You're going through a rough time. OK.

Melanie Gray:

Program Director, Partners in Process Equine Learning Centre: Within five, six sessions I have family members saying to me "Wow, my child's changed, you know, they are helping out at home. They are respecting us now, they are working on their issues."

Melanie Gray:

How are your friends? Are they influencing you a lot?

Melanie Gray:

Program Director, Partners in Process Equine Learning Centre: Anybody that wants to run a program like this, I would suggest going to a program that is up and running so that you can see that for yourself. Go around to your agencies ahead of time, which we didn't, so that was a learning curve for us.

The biggest thing is to get the management people out to the program because when we were doing the demos for agencies with their case workers, they would go back and share the program, but they weren't the decision makers. So it's getting the decision makers out to see your program.

Clayton Conlan:

Federal Crown Prosecutor for Grey County: The other thing is there was an educational aspect to it because the judges needed to be educated that this program existed, defence lawyers in this county needed to be educated that the program exists. Probation officers and everyone involved in the criminal justice system needed to be made aware of the program.

Melanie Gray:

Program Director, Partners in Process Equine Learning Centre: When I did approach the court office, they were leery of the program as well, just for liability, so that was another factor because of the horses. But everybody does sign a liability form here.

The other was getting the community to understand and come out for demonstrations. When we first attempted this, they thought we were stepping on the therapeutic riding programs that work with the disabled and it was going to be another program such as that.

Even to this day, people think it is still a riding program.

Clayton Conlan:

Federal Crown Prosecutor for Grey County: I think we are in a much better position now because first of all we have a top-notch facility where these young persons can go and benefit from the experiences and the teachings that Partners in Process and the Melody Acres training centre can provide them with. There is also less guesswork involved now because young persons charged with minor drug offences in Grey County know about this program, so when they come into the system, they ask about the program or their lawyers ask about the program; there's no more guesswork and it's consistent.

Melanie Gray:

Yeah you did really well here.

Melanie Gray:

Program Director, Partners in Process Equine Learning Centre: The kids are always wanting to come back and they know that you know I mean, if they slip up down the road they also know that they're able to come back into the program at any time. And they do. They come back and mentor. So, it is wonderful.

On-screen Text:

The Equine Assisted Illicit Drug Addiction Therapy pilot project received funding through the Youth Justice Fund Drug Treatment Component. Funding for this component is provided under the National Anti-Drug Strategy.

For more information about funding under the National Anti-Drug Strategy, please visit nationalantidrugstrategy.gc.ca

©Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada, represented by Justice Canada, 2011.

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