Creating a Home-Like
Environment of Equanimity
Mental calmness and composure in the face of a difficult situation is the feeling we aim to cultivate at Makana. The entire experience of being here is therapeutic from morning exercises and meditation until evening activities and bedtime. When our students are not in school or therapy they are having fun, discovering new interests, or practicing a new skill in one of our club activities. Our “Home Mentors” create opportunities to master life skills, self-awareness, and problem-solving through experiences that are fun, engaging, and purposeful. Campus life feels like home, with friends, laughter, caring mentors, and phases of the daily routine that all add up to personal growth.
Our staff to student ratio is never less than 1:4. Students live in groups of 8 per home and take on chores and responsibilities for themselves much like they would at home. The staff and student body become their family tribe as we all work together to create an environment of peaceful equanimity.
Modeling Secure Attachment
It is extremely helpful for a developing adolescent to understand their patterns of attachment as they work to reframe their relationships with parents and prepare for successful partnerships.
We love how Dr. Dianne Poole teaches how to apply an understanding of attachment theory and trauma resolution in her book, Healing Your Attachment Wounds. She helps identify how traumatic events — such as a physical injury, emotional threat, or other life crisis’ — can amplify a sense of fear, anger, isolation, or helplessness in our lives.
Dr. Poole sheds light on the three styles of insecure attachment — Avoidant, Ambivalent, and Disorganized — and the ideal fourth style of Secure Attachment, where we enjoy a foundation of safety, adaptability, and intimacy with others. The good news is that we can change, regardless of our early or current life experiences.
"I feel as though I would want [my daughter] to be at Makana even if she didn't have the problems that brought her there in the first place. It is such a positive, supportive, fun, healthy, and educational environment."
"I think what makes Makana special is the fact that we base our interactions and approach on a relationship-based model. We look at how to continue to build on relationships to help others rather than simply giving up when things get too tough."
– Michelle A.
"Before Makna I was always angry and I didn’t trust anyone who was an adult authority figure. Now I understand myself better and I know my attachment style and I’m able to work through times when I get upset. I calm down much quicker now and I believe that the staff here care about me."
A Day in the Life of
a Makana Student
Rise and Shine
Good sleep is an important contributor to our mental health. We track each student’s sleep quality with a Fitbit® device that provides detailed data about REM, deep sleep, and wakefulness each night.
Our fitness program is designed to challenge each student where they are at their own level. Students track their progress and become engaged with their personal progress in flexibility, agility, strength, and skill.
30 minutes of guided meditation or a lesson in mindfulness is followed by 20-30 minutes of quiet meditation, breathing, and controlled stillness. Often students share insights and breakthroughs with the group at the end of the session.
Breakfast is designed to give a great start to the school day; and is prepared in the home every day (with the exception of Saturdays).
Students attend school in a classroom environment and tackle their individualized education plan. Each student tracks their daily progress toward their high school graduation and other academic goals.
Our meals have been designed by a licensed nutritionist to help feel new levels of physical wellness that is foundational to their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Our goal is to inspire learning through experiences and projects that engage the student and make school fun. Afternoons are reserved for activities that serve an academic purpose.
Individual therapy sessions are conducted throughout the day and group therapy happens 3 times a week.
Dinner time is always fun, with the school day behind us, we look forward to club activities and sports in the evening.
Our clubs are created by simply matching the skills and hobbies of our home staff with the interests of the students. Music, art, photography, guitar lessons, herbology, primitive skills, poetry, tennis, and outdoor adventure are examples of clubs that the students have created. This is an opportunity to be a kid, have fun learning a new skill, and connecting with each other.
Chore time is sometimes scheduled earlier in the day but each day there are housekeeping and campus care responsibilities that the student takes care of just as they would at home.
This is a time to read, write, and wind down as the student prepares for bed.
Students learn the benefits of good sleep and are coached on ways to calm their thoughts and brain to sleep better. Fitbit® data helps staff analyze quantitative sleep patterns for each student.