Mason Smith

Dr. Mason Fuller Smith, Director of Community Engagement for Boys and Girls Homes of NC gave a very inspiring presentation on how the Boys and Girls Home at Lake Waccamaw has undergone a major refurbishment in both physical facilities and in the way kids are cared for at the home. Everyone the kids have contact with is now undergone therapy training, even those working in the stables and in the cafeteria. Mason also described physical changes to the facility because they now receive mostly kids who need a high level of care to overcome the scars they carry.

Mason was appreciative of the Club’s work at the Kiwanis Girls Cottage and noted that visits by club members is still sometime away as the new therapy protocols are put in place and the remodeling of the cottage is completed.

Mason described “The Waccamaw Way is a model of care based in the mission, vision, and values of Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.”

Mason noted “The key aims of The Waccamaw Way are:

  • Providing a safe environment for trying new things, learning “cause and effect” thinking, and practicing prosocial skills.
  • Providing opportunities for clients to align their values with their actions and create pathways for value-driven decision-making.
  • Applying Growth Mindset principles to functional skill-building and the promotion of behavioral change.
  • Assisting clients discover and leverage their strengths, talents, skills, abilities, and passions to promote a muscle memory for success.
  • Counteracting the negative impacts of sensory and social deprivation.
  • Reducing reactivity to stress and anxiety.
  • Encouraging the development of skills related to executive functioning.”

Through out his presentation Mason used examples of kids with extreme emotional scars and how they grew day by day in their new surroundings at Lake Waccamaw. For “Chris” it was horse therapy that got him through his initial time at the Home. Chris progressed through the various phases of the “nurturing therapeutic experience” until he himself became a leader for the ‘new kids’ coming to the Home.

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