Learning to “Engage”

Learning to “Engage”

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A program in Jonesboro is changing people’s lives by focusing on engagement.

Dr. Tracy Morrison developed the program “Engage” after seeing a need to help people who struggle with issues like autism, a head injury, a learning disability or their mood.

Home school student Will Gann has learned a lot through his time at “Engage."

“I was on a 1st grade reading level in the 5th grade. Now, I’m on a 7th grade and I’m only in 6th grade,” said Gann. “I come do my fitness, then I do my school work and then play after we finish all of our stuff and after we eat our family lunch.”

For Dr. Morrison, it’s like solving a puzzle.

"We do a lot of academic skills," said Morrison.
"We do a lot of academic skills," said Morrison. (Source: Engage)

“A lot of our clients might not have a disability per se but, they just aren’t getting where they need to functionally to make the next step,” said Morrison. “It’s our job to figure out what we need to do to meet their need.”

Dr. Morrison has made it her mission to find each client’s missing piece.

“So we don’t have activities that they have to fit in to,” said Morrison. “What we’re really good at is becoming activity engineers.”

You’ll see different activities with the therapeutic program like jiu-jitsu, equine therapy, and archery.

You'll see different activities with the therapeutic program, like jiu jitsu, equine therapy, and archery.
You'll see different activities with the therapeutic program, like jiu jitsu, equine therapy, and archery. (Source: Engage)

But, that’s not the only skills participants learn.

“We do a lot of academic skills, and so the clients that we see that are youth, we do a backpack check,” said Morrison. “So, lets go through your backpack let’s see what’s happening, the longer you don’t go through the backpack the more that’s in the backpack, becomes bigger.”

Focusing on instrumental activities such as time management, self management, students skills and life skills, has proved beneficial for home school student Slade Pettie.

“I was at other schools, they didn’t give me as much help and I had a lot of trouble,” said Pettie. “But, when I started coming here two years ago, they gave me so much help and I love them for it.”

It’s all about finding a sense of belonging.

It's all about finding a sense of belonging.
It's all about finding a sense of belonging. (Source: Engage)

“My friends are always there for me,” said Gann.

7th grader Aiden Andrews is part of the program.

For him, math is now easier.

But, his mom, Stephanie Andrews, has noticed much more.

“Aiden has developed a confidence about himself that I didn’t think he was capable of,” said Andrews.

"Aiden has developed a confidence about himself that I didn't think he was capable of," said Andrews.
"Aiden has developed a confidence about himself that I didn't think he was capable of," said Andrews. (Source: Engage)

“Engage” and Dr. Morrison push their clientele to become the best versions of themselves.

“He’s come out of his shell, he’s no longer withdrawn like he was,” said Andrews. “I and my husband didn’t know how our son was going to survive in this world, and what his role would be. And, without this place he’s going to be a huge member of society, he’s going to go to college and start a family and live a life that I didn’t know was capable. “Engage” has just been something that’s changed everything for the better.”

“Engage” sees students beginning at three years old and goes all the way to elders, who might suffer from degenerative diseases.

For more information about “Engage” you can call (870) 897-1783.

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