We take our responsibility to the men we serve seriously. They deserve the best. That’s why training staff to deliver high-quality services is one of our highest priorities. Now that our Columbia team has been hired, it’s all about getting them ready. Each afternoon at Turning Leaf, our new hires are coached by staff veterans. Role plays. Coaching sessions. Teach backs.  

The thing is, we’re not just training mental health professionals. We’re also training formerly incarcerated men – program graduates – to deliver our services. We believe that they are the most credible of messengers to show people returning home from prison that real change is possible.  These men are now learning how to teach the same skills that helped them change their mindset, and their lives. It’s more than inspiring. 

Program Director Justin Evans and Founder Amy Barch have been hard at work creating and delivering a hands-on, three-month training program for the new staff. “Our program is unique in some ways, but it’s also very straightforward,” says Evans. “We follow the evidence and use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Core Correctional Practices, both of which have been around for a while. But what we know, and what we try to stress in our training, is that the most important part of delivering these types of therapies are the relationships established between participants and staff. The potential for change is amplified in a trusting relationship.”