Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 12, 1999
Bosco Homes realize a dream
School to serve needs of emotionally disturbed youth
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Emotionally disturbed kids at Bosco Homes now have a chance at a real education in a "real school."
Almost 12 years after it began as a residential treatment centre for disturbed children, Bosco Homes has fulfilled its dream of building a school to offer special and remedial education to its residents.
The $2.2-million facility, sitting on 120 acres on the shores of Bennett Lake, just east of Sherwood Park, will benefit about 50 kids who live in the five residences Bosco Homes has in the area.
The building, a two-storey, 22,000-square-foot facility, is a wood-frame structure. Most of the panelling is medium density fibreboard, strong enough to resist abuse.
"It's a multipurpose facility but primarily, of course, it's a school," said Bosco Homes director Gus Rozycki.
The school has seven classrooms for nine students each, an art room, a resource room, an aboriginal meditation room, a physical education room, a large multipurpose room with a commercial kitchen, conference rooms and offices for psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses.
The school is a dream come true for Rozycki and the Bosco Homes Society, which has planned for a school for the past 11 years.
The dream started to take shape after an anonymous donor gave $160,000 towards a school. The Alberta government provided another $125,000. Alberta Treasury Branches provided a $1.3-million mortgage.
"After 11 years of providing education from the basements of our residences, we finally have a real school to meet our students' needs," Rozycki said.
About 100 people toured the largely unfurnished facility during the school opening June 27. Only one classroom was furnished and decorated for the benefit of the guests.
Bosco Homes is currently conducting an "adopt-a-room" fundraising campaign to buy furniture.
To date, two thirds of the rooms have been adopted out.
With a staff of 22, the school will begin offering special and remedial education in September to youth who reside at Bosco Homes' treatment centre. The programs are recognized by Alberta Education.
Most kids who come to Bosco Homes have been out of school for one or two years. "What the school offers them is a chance to be educated in a very small setting with one-to-one attention to allow them to experience success and one day be reintegrated into the community schools," said teacher Suzanne Rozycki, the director's daughter.
"There will be a minimum of three kids to one staff and in some cases two kids to one staff."
Apart from the individualized attention, the Bosco school will differ little from a regular school.
"We follow Alberta Education curriculum and the kids study the same things they would if they were in a community school," Suzanne Rozycki said. "So there is no difference in what they learn textbookwise, the exception being that there is more individualized attention. And if they have difficulty with the curriculum, then we adapt it to meet each student."
Bosco Homes opened its residential treatment centre for children and adolescents suffering from emotional and psychiatric disorders in April 1988. It began serving 14 kids with a staff of 20. Today it serves over 300 children at a time.
Through its various programs, including residential treatment care, child and support services, psychological and assessment services and foster care services, Bosco Homes now employs 40 staff and benefits from some 300 volunteers.