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DYS students enjoy a new holiday traditionDate: 12/28/2017
Providing students with an opportunity to enjoy a wonderful experience during the holiday season was the basis of the inaugural Turkey Bowl.
The Department of Human Services Division of Youth Services strives to present holistic treatment for its students. Creating normalcy is an important part of the process.
Laughter, emphatic conversations, food, and sports are closely associated with the holiday season. A group of students from the Lewsiville Juvenile Treatment Center and the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center (AJATC) convened in Alexander to bask in the glory of Thanksgiving by competing in a flag football game and a basketball game.
“We always provide youth within our residential facilities opportunities for positive peer interaction,” said Deputy Assistant Director of Residential Services, April Hannah. “With the events at AJATC, we wanted to give our students access to some of the traditional activities they participated in prior to being assigned to us.”
Cassandra Henry of the Lewisville center and Tyrone Fogle of the facility in Alexander worked alongside Hannah to bring the event into fruition. They were ecstatic with the end-result.
“Watching the youth working together as a team was an awesome experience,” Henry said.
“Sports has a way of teaching several life lessons,” Fogle stated. “The constant display of sportsmanship, and the youth being in a normal social situation was fun to observe.”
At both centers, many of the students are focused on earning the right to participate in the next competition.
“Overall, behavior is improving because everyone is trying to make the cut for our next event,” Henry said. “Athletics teaches a person how to control their emotions and work well with other people. This shows them that there is a positive outcome to modifying their behavior.”
“Students who meet program goals are the ones who receive the chance to participate,” Fogle stated. “Our students are now excited for another similar competition to take place.”
As a whole, Hannah is also delighted with how Turkey Bowl functioned and the lasting impact it has made.
“The youth and staff alike were excited for this opportunity and everyone displayed good sportsmanship,” she said. “I was pleased with the turnout of staff who came to support the event, despite it being the day after Thanksgiving. I was also overjoyed at seeing the great reactions of the youth who were competing.”