Claret Homes Foundation
Home warmth to renew each person. Colombia
“The young person is not a difficulty, it is an opportunity.”
Gabriel Mejía cmf
Director of the Atlantic Region of Colombia. Claret Homes
The Claret Homes Foundation was created in 1984 and promoted by Fr. Gabriel Antonio Mejia, Claretian Missionary. Fr. Gabriel felt the need to care for children and young people imprisoned in drugs and whom he loved with all his soul; the way he found was the creation of a group in which relationships and care were the keys to rehabilitative change. His missionary heart could not leave these children and adolescents far from the caring love of the Father.
The population served includes young offenders of criminal law, young people disengaged from the armed conflict, children, and adolescents in protection, street children using psychoactive substances, older adults, and all types of addictions. At present, Hogares Claret Foundation provides programs in 7 departments of Colombia: Cundinamarca, Antioquia, Eje cafetero (Risaralda and Quindio), Valle del Cauca, Atlántico, Santander and Bolívar. The professionals who work in Claret Homes are around 600, including psychologists, social workers, pedagogues, institutional managers, nutritionists, socio-cultural facilitators, workshop leaders, educators, lawyers, occupational therapists, among others. They attend 1744 people in 25 homes. We will now go on to present the fundamentals and the recovery program.
1. The Therapeutic Community in the Claret Homes Foundation:
There are many definitions of therapeutic community that show its characteristics. We can highlight the one elaborated by Ottemberg in 1993, which reads as follows:
“A therapeutic community is a drug-free setting in which people with addiction and other problems live together in an organized and structured way in order to promote change and make drug-free living possible in real society.
The therapeutic community forms a micro-society in which the residents and the team, in the role of facilitators, assume different roles and adhere to clear rules designed to promote the transition process of the residents”.
The objective of therapeutic communities is to provide an intensive and comprehensive approach to addiction and other problems, with psychotherapeutic, occupational, socio-educational, and medical-health activities.
2. Pillars of the foundation of Claret Homes:
2.1. The family accompaniment pillar deals with the decisive incorporation of families and other affective links of the user to his therapeutic process, starting from the theoretical and practical understanding of the complex issue of the family in its systemic composition and its social evolution, to offer programs that restore mutual relationships, face the problems they are in and prepare the families to be the first propitious space for social induction and protective and projective environment of the reeducated. These programs are personalized professional attention, the Institute of the family or school of face-to-face or virtual training through four modules of theoretical-practical training and the offer of Equine-therapy or equine-assisted therapy.
The Consciousness-Based Education pillar is an experimental science and technique to develop the full potential of each adolescent and young person in the processes of education and re-education, taking advantage of all the potential and the ancestral historical development of the oriental school of the master Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
It is based on the integration of the latest discoveries of modern science about the human brain and quantum mechanics, combined with experimental procedures for the development of human potential, the permanent internalization of the being, and its full harmonization. It uses and introduces in the day-to-day life of adolescents, elements such as the basic technique of Transcendental Meditation, Yoga and Asanas, the advanced technique of the Sidhis, Aromatherapy, and the application of the Vedic Physiology Model.
Some of the benefits that the adolescents who belong to the programs operated by the Claret Homes Foundation express are: Improvement in memory, Intelligence, and thoughts. Greater creativity and learning capacity. Reduced need to consume alcohol and drugs.
2.3. The Spirituality pillar is an educational proposal that seeks awareness, formation, and experience of the values that give meaning and orientation to human existence, for the foundation and realization of a life project that leads to maturity and personal self-control, integration, and social commitment, the achievement of happiness and the realization of personal and social ideals.
In the Claret Homes, Spirituality is inspired and witnessed, in a propositional, open, and ecumenical way, in the Gospel of Jesus, in the doctrine and pastoral of the Catholic Church, and in the humanistic orientation of the Claretian Missionaries. It is expressed in different moments such as:
Individual listening to adolescents and young people, who need to express themselves and be guided.
Educational spaces where different topics that guide the life project are discussed.
Structuring in values and reinforcement in the knowledge of institutional symbols.
Liturgical celebrations adapted to the home environment.
Articulation with the other institutional pillars to strengthen the rehabilitation processes and their life experiences. Sacraments (baptisms, first communions, confirmations). Spirituality Week to strengthen the bonds of the Claretian family. (Reflections, workshops, contests, debates, etc.).
2.4. The pillar of Scouting is the incorporation into the Therapeutic Community of the integral, progressive, and permanent training system for boys, girls, and young people, which constitutes the essence and history of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, active today in many countries through national organizations.
From its proposal, we especially take advantage of the team system, the promotion of the spiritual, affective, corporal, social, creative, and ecological development of people, trying to make them useful to themselves, to their community, to God, to their Homeland, and to their Home, without exclusion due to differences or distinctions of creed, ethnicity, preferences or others; thus, achieving a strengthening of the Life Project and promoting their social inclusion.
For this purpose, the scope of the Claret Homes is adapted, a whole plan of personal and collective progression. Institutionally, the Foundation is constituted as a Region of the Scout Association in Colombia, recognized by the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Scouting activities are recreation, teamwork, competitions, social interventions, talks on personal and environmental care. You learn by playing!
3. How is the process of the young people in the Claret Homes Foundation?
The adolescent is punished for being found criminally responsible for a punishable act, several hearings are held as in the adult system, but in the case of adolescents it is behind closed doors, the judicial entity that judges it sends it to the reeducation center the Oasis, with a measure of deprivation of liberty for the time determined by the judicial authority, according to the aggravating circumstances and evidentiary material of the criminal act. In the Home, the young person is received regardless of the crime committed, in the words of the president of the Claret Home Foundation, Gabriel Mejía, “The young person is not a difficulty, he is an opportunity”,
He is admitted by the coordinator of trainers and is warmly received, with attention and active listening by the psycho-social-pedagogical team, The various initial assessments are carried out by all areas of care in the home and, within a maximum of 45 days, a diagnosis must be made in order to draw up an individual care plan or individualized work plan for the adolescent. During this time is the process of adaptation to the peer group, the work methodology is explained, difficulties are identified with some of the unit mates for peaceful conflict resolution, to avoid future aggressions or difficulties in coexistence.
During the first days of adaptation, the adolescent is in the acceptance phase; an older sibling is assigned to guide him/her for the first 22 days; when the agreed date is reached, he/she will be given a therapeutic diary and a lanyard with a card with a color assigned for the stage corresponding to the acceptance phase, which is reception; starting on the 23rd day, the adolescent must comply with certain objectives stipulated for the stage in which he/she is. On the last Thursday of each month, a stage evaluation is carried out, which consists of checking if the resident shows in his daily life at home the fulfillment of the objectives of the stage to which he belongs.
Simultaneously in the therapeutic-pedagogical process, the adolescent is linked to the educational system operating at home and supported by the governmental entity in charge of the educational system, and if he/she graduates from high school is linked to higher education in the various universities with which the foundation has agreements. Also, they are linked to the various occupational workshops of the foundation and others articulated with the National Learning Center SENA, and other agreements in government entities, vegetable garden workshop, fish farming, poultry farming, pig farming, bakery, welding, electricity, speech and radio, handicrafts, mechanics, sports training, among others.
A resident’s day is structured in a format called a diary, which describes all the activities carried out during the day, every day of the week. Within the home, responsibilities are assigned within an operating committee, which is a structure designed with the objective of fulfilling specific functions that are directly related to the recovery of the subject in its entirety.
It is a fundamental tool to work on group and individual aspects, generating in time people with greater maturity and responsibility for their lives and those of others.
It consists of an advanced group of residents who assume in a systematized way the management of the group, permanently advised and monitored by the technical team of the home. It is the person him/herself who is the protagonist of his/her history, who responds and generates the recovery supported by the group.
The operating committee is made up of the coordinator of the therapeutic environment, coordinator of human relations and spirituality, coordinator of culture and sports, physical plant, and self-management.
Self-help and mutual aid therapies are also scheduled in daily life, fixed and dynamic, among which we can mention: the morning meeting, the assembly and dynamics of affirmation, the round of pointing, self-evaluation or feedback, group therapies, here and now therapy, etc. Likewise, the psychosocial team works with the adolescent or young person on their life project throughout their process and permanence in the center.
When the young person graduates from the institution, he/she has the emotional, therapeutic, occupational, and pre-employment tools to perform in society as a good person and not to relapse into criminal behavior. They enter a post-institutional program that is formed by a psychosocial team that supports them in fulfilling their life project, continuing with their academic and training activities, job placement, and psychological support for 18 months from the date of release from the system of criminal responsibility for adolescents.
4. the Claret Homes Foundation fulfills its purpose and mission:
To accompany children, adolescents, and adults affected by marginalization, psychoactive substance abuse, violence, or behavioral problems, to find the meaning of their lives, in a perspective of restoration of their rights and inclusion in the different areas of society.
Director of the Atlantic Region of Colombia. Claret Homes