Let’s Plan a Visit!
When parents first drop off their student at Eva Carlston, the question of, “When is our first visit,” is never far from everyone’s lips.
In reality, trips home are a key part of Eva Carlston treatment program. Home and parent visits provide staff, family and student valuable information to assess just how much each kid is progressing.
“Family visits are a crucial part, not only of the treatment, but also of the well-being of the girls,” explains Stephanie Taylor, Eva’s Assistant Program Director.
Stephanie is a six-year Eva Carlston veteran, and she manages the intricate and complicated details to ensure that all students can safely visit family and friends. The visits not only give students an opportunity to be with family but, just as importantly, it also gives them a chance to practice the skills they are learning at Eva Carlston in their home setting.
Once the girls are back in Salt Lake, they have an opportunity to process the visit and work to understand what went well and what struggles they faced while away. This feedback allows the student, parents and therapist to consider what skills the student has internalized, what skills still need some work, and the best way to move forward.
Fundamentally, family visits help the kids prepare for whatever future plans they may have, whether it be to finish school, go to college, get a job or even plan for a year living abroad.
Stephanie explains that the primary purpose of the home and parent visits is to provide an opportunity for students to strengthen the work they have already done at Eva Carlston and to prepare for a full life after Eva Carlston.
Let’s plan a visit!
Not long after a student arrives at Eva Carlston, parents are asked to schedule a trip back to Utah for a local visit. These visits may include activities in the Salt Lake Valley or Park City, some time on campus and, most-likely, a family therapy session or two. Eva Carlston staff encourage family members to appreciate the changes the student is working to make and the life they lead here. By visiting the campus, parents gain insight into the day-to-day routines of their daughters and the hard work they are doing, while also meeting the staff and other residents. Off-campus activities allow the entire family to enjoy the cultural fun and natural playground that Utah has to offer.
“I get a home visit in two weeks! I can’t wait to see my mom and dad,” can often be heard coming from an excited student after a therapy session.
After the first few months of a girl’s residency, the Treatment Team, which consists of the Executive Director, Academic Director, Art Director, Program Director and the student’s therapist, decide when a trip home is appropriate. The first home visit is usually within the initial months and is only for a couple of days. As students get further along in the program these visits lengthen and eventually each student is home for one week per month until they graduate from Eva Carslton.
“There are lots of moving parts to make sure the girls get home safely, but we make it happen!” – Stephanie
Home visits are scheduled between a therapist and parents, making sure that both the parents and the student are prepared for the responsibility of the visit. While visits are wonderful reunions, they can also be stressful and need a good amount of preparation. Once the dates are sorted, Stephanie books the flights and arranges for an Eva Family Teacher to take the student to the airport. Packing, transportation, security clearances, and gate arrangements are all factors in Stephanie’s meticulous planning. This may all sound straight-forward but throw multiple girls traveling to multiple destinations into the mix, and any small change can be a huge disruption!
Funny mishaps inevitably occur. One day, Stephanie received a call from a worried student unable to find a Family Teacher at her gate. At the same time, the Family Teacher phoned Stephanie, concerned that she couldn’t find her student – a gate change. Stephanie knew they were in the same location so after a few minutes of looking around they realized that they were only 20 feet away from each other but had been facing opposite directions!
Nineteen girls went home in December 2019. Sixteen went home for Thanksgiving, all with different flights, various destinations, and crazy schedules. This kind of juggling act is was Stephanie does best, she is an expert at making sure everyone gets home safe and sound.
“The best part about being at the airport to pick up a returning girl is the look of relief on their faces when they get off the plane and they see you waiting for them. It’s so touching,” Stephanie says, “the girls’ faces show everything. They are anxious about traveling and are as happy to see us as we are to see them.”
These trips home are an essential part of the healing process. At Eva Carlston we want the girls who leave the program to have a strong connection to their family and the tools they need to prepare for the rest of their lives.
Address: 4943 S Wasatch Boulevard, Salt Lake City, Utah 84124