YFC Northern CO Offers a “Rebalance” for Teens Struggling with Trauma

April 3, 2024


According to Jeff Neel, Executive Director of Youth For Christ in Northern Colorado, “Because of their histories, children who have experienced trauma have changes in their bodies, brains, behaviors and belief systems. As a result, their care requires a holistic approach.”

YFC’s Northern Colorado chapter is responding to this mental health crisis with Rebalance, a program designed to meet the unique needs of young people struggling with traumatic experiences on a variety of levels.

Neel said, “Rebalance is designed for young individuals who have encountered notable challenges in their lives. We developed the program to simulate real-life emotional reactions to higher-stress activities. This provides a safe environment for young people to react, and coaches can then intervene and correct negative behavior. The program employs trained coaches who deliver activities and RoundTables with Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) methods.”

Based on a therapeutic approach pioneered by the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development, TBRI is a trauma-informed intervention utilizing attachment, sensory processing and neuroscience research.

Neel remarked, “There are many strategies that can be successful when working with kids. But in our experience, whether we are working with kids who have felt rejected in some way, or they just need help navigating the typical teen stresses of life, or they have gone through trauma in their past — addressing the whole child is essential. If we want to get to a place where we can share on a deep heart level, we will only get there if we use tools that bring healing and belonging to a child, so they have a better chance to hear and believe. We start with the heart through connecting, empowering and correcting, and then we build a bridge toward a harvest.”

Rebalance also uses Roundtable discussions, which foster two-way communication in small groups for 30-45 minutes. During this time every participant is given a voice and the opportunity for a win.

Neel shared, “Ideas are not taught, they are facilitated. Every class, we gather around a table for dinner and a RoundTable discussion, creating a space for self-discovery, personal transformation and culture change. We also teach a new character each week, such as Emotions, Listening, Boundaries and Influence.”

The Rebalance program serves as a vibrant testament to YFC’s continuing legacy of meeting and helping young people right where they are.

Neel said, “We believe that any young person, no matter their position in life, has the best chance of becoming a successful adult if given opportunities to become active participants of pro-social community organizations and the faith community.”