As another trip around the sun has come to pass, we celebrate as 2020 is put to rest. Many take this time to look to the future and plan what steps are needed to reach the new levels of growth. Goals help us strive to be better. They give us landmarks to see where we have been and where we are headed. When we reach our goals there is cause for celebration. Excitement for the hard work and growth it took to get there.
At Cookson Hills, we have rejoiced in accomplishing previous goals. We are now in year three of our 5-year strategic plan. Therefore, our goals this year focus on serving more children for longer periods of time, adding a kindergarten class to our school, and making Cookson Hills an EAGALA Certified counseling center. As we journey into 2021, our three primary goals are as follows:
Our five-year goal is to serve within 85% capacity of 80 kids, at any given time. Now that we are effectively offering long-term care for our kids, we will begin focusing on increasing the number of kids we serve each year. We plan to accomplish this increase by hiring two additional primary houseparent couples. This will help grow the capacity of children we can serve. In order to maintain our average length of stay, a counselor will begin enhancing our enrollment process. They will be providing feedback on the appropriateness of placement. This will help minimize the potential for early dismissal and disruption of students already in our care.
Our state-of-the-art 1st-12th grade school is the “Secret Sauce” of Cookson Hills. It offers our children a place to receive a quality Christian education and holistic care in a healing environment. It is time we offer this same service to our youngest, most vulnerable students. In order to accomplish this goal, we will be converting our Art Room into a K-1 classroom. We will also be hiring a K-1 teacher, and completing a curriculum map for Kindergarten.
Currently, our children attend weekly therapy sessions and horsemanship classes. However, we want to combine these two separate ideas and become EAGALA certified. EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) will teach our children how to observe the reactions of horses. More specifically, identify ways these reactions could be metaphors representing something going on in their own life. In order to accomplish this goal, we will need to certify and train our Equine Specialist and Counselors. Upon completion, we will be the third Children’s Home in the U.S. to be EAGALA certified.
With these goals obtained, we will be able to better fulfill our mission to provide home, school, and therapy to the children we serve. But in addition, have the capability to serve more kids at-risk. Our desire is to raise up healthy individuals who are empowered to positively impact future generations. Subsequently, we know that taking these steps this year will lead us toward this vision realized.