All Kinds of News for February 05, 2020
Northwest Passage continues to break down walls and stereotypes surrounding mental health issues by offering innovative programs and opportunities at their residential treatment facilities in Northwestern Wisconsin. One of the most unique opportunities allows residents of their Prairieview girls program to compete locally on a Northwest basketball team. The team plays approximately eight games per season against local public and private schools in the area. The “Pioneers” just wrapped up their third season, and they are just that — Pioneers, for their first victory.
The Pioneer team members stepped out of their comfort zones, most of them trying basketball, or any organized sport, for the first time. The team, coordinated and coached by Northwest Passage teacher Taylor Mathias, provides the unique opportunity to bring the girls into the community, allows them to play against other girls their age from local schools and normalizes life for the students.
It took three seasons and 21 games, but recently the Pioneers earned their first win in their treatment program's history. Coach Mathias described the last seconds of that memorable game, “As I watched the final seconds of the game tick down, I knew we had just solidified our first win. I felt like time stood still. I looked around a gymnasium that was full of teachers, therapists, case managers, clinicians, and all sorts of direct care staff that had come out to support their girls. I looked down the bench and saw all of my players and coaching staff trying to hold back their exuberance for just a few more seconds. The clock hit triple zeros; we shook hands with the opposing team, and then the celebrations began. It felt like we had won a National Championship. Fans and family ran onto the court and hugs were given as tears ran down the many proud faces of those who knew just how far these girls have come”.
Another successful season is in the books for the Pioneers of Northwest Passage. Reflecting on the season, Mathias said, “After games, I often get asked, 'Did you win?' With this team, it goes beyond the win/loss column. When I see these girls laughing, high-fiving, and busting some serious dance moves (yes, sometimes they dance during the game), I realize—this is winning! After one of our games this season, I overheard a player tell her teammate, 'Wow, tonight I felt normal'. That is a win in my book any day. “
About Northwest Passage
Founded in 1978, Northwest Passage is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring hope through innovative mental health services for children and families. With over 40 years of rich history, Northwest Passage has become a national leader in residential mental health assessment and treatment for youth experiencing severe and complex emotional and behavioral disruptions. The organization has two residential facilities. Riverside, situated on 70 acres of iconic Northwoods landscape and bisected by the winding Clam River in Webster, WI, serves boys ages 12-17. The Prairieview campus is located on 25 acres of rolling prairie in Frederic, WI, and houses females ages 12-17 as well as Northwest Passage’s Assessment Program which serves youth ages 6-17 in a co-ed environment.
Northwest Passage’s success is due in large part to its high-impact experiential programming. They have implemented a powerful therapeutic arts program, InaNewLight, and showcase their residents’ inspiring artwork to the public at the one-of-a-kind InaNewLight Gallery in Webster, WI. Funded with private donations and grants, the InaNewLight program has provided an opportunity for Northwest Passage’s youth to travel around the country, and even internationally, capturing amazing sunsets, beautiful wildlife, and serene wilderness scenes with their cameras. Along the way, many also captured parts of themselves that were otherwise out of reach.
Northwest Passage has earned academic accreditation through Cognia, Inc., formerly AdvancED. For more information about Northwest Passage call 715-327-4402 or visit nwpltd.org.