It takes a village. This line regarding raising children has been attributed to an African or Native American proverb and was popularized by a book by then First Lady Hillary Clinton. Some will say this is what it takes to raise a child, however, this is truly what it takes to raise a child who has sustained a brain injury. It takes a whole team of caring people.
This year, we celebrate 20 years of treating young individuals through our Pediatric Program. And, from the moment the idea was proposed, we realized…it would take a village.
In the fall of 1993, a case manager shared the story of a young girl with whom I had worked. She was failing at home due to her behavioral difficulties. The case manager commented on how nice it would be if Rainbow had a residential treatment program for children.
Shortly thereafter, the idea was proposed to Buzz Wilson, the owner of Rainbow at the time. The Executive Committee at Rainbow agreed that this was an idea worth pursuing, and various people were tapped to get the idea off the ground.
Some individuals were assigned to find property, others to get the facility licensed and still another group to develop the program. Those of us in program development were given an opportunity that few people have and for which I will be endlessly grateful. We were allowed to envision and then bring to fruition our program.
We met once or twice per week prior to the opening of the program. We interviewed, hired and trained staff before we deemed them ready to work with children. In January, 1994, we opened our doors and have since successfully treated children, adolescents and young adults.
The program has grown from one home in Farmington Hills, MI to a program that now includes seven homes for pediatric or young adult clients, a semi-independent living apartment program, a young adult vocational center and a dedicated treatment center. In 2009, the pediatric program expanded into Genesee County with the acquisition of Functional Recovery, and more opportunities for children were provided by Rainbow when the Genesee Treatment Center opened in 2012.
We are able to treat young people because of the help of a village of people including support staff, rehabilitation assistants, pediatric therapists, doctors, case managers, school systems, neighbors and families—the families of the young people treated at Rainbow and our own families. At times this system of care can be overwhelming to the young person in the center, but the support is reassuring to them when life becomes difficult to negotiate.
Upon reflection during this 20th year, it is important to acknowledge the hundreds of young people who have entered our lives. We have seen them graduate from therapy and from high school. We have seen their accomplishments in the arts, employment, higher education or starting families. We have shared their laughter and their heartache. We have watched their struggles and their victories. They have given more to us and made us better people than any of us could have imagined.
A huge thank you is extended to the team at Rainbow and beyond who made this program grow from that small comment into a program in 1994 and who continue to make it possible every day.
It has taken a village, and I am proud to be a citizen of this fine group. My sincerest thank you to all.
About the Author
Mariann Young, Ph.D., CBIS,
Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers
Mariann Young is a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of Pediatric Services at Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers, Inc. She has more than 30 years’ experience in individual and group psychotherapy, family therapy, staff training and supervision. In addition, she has significant experience in assessments, intervention and care of behaviorally challenged youths. In more than 20 years with Rainbow, Dr. Young has administered the development and coordination of outpatient, day treatment and residential programming for children, adolescents and young adults with TBI. She presents locally, nationally and internationally on topics related to the treatment of young survivors and is a regular contributor to RainbowVisions® Magazine and has been featured on brainline.org as one of their experts.