Diakon Youth Services A Lutheran Family & Community Ministry

Diakon Youth Services

Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries

Other Diakon Youth Services

About Turning Point

Program Mission…

Our overarching mission is to keep youths in home settings through effective and meaningful community-based interventions.


To provide an alternative to secure detention for pre-adjudicated and adjudicated delinquent adolescent males by working collaboratively with juvenile probation departments, schools, youths, parents, families, and the community.


Turning Point focuses on integrating within the lives of our students and their families Diakon Youth Services’ five keys to success: Respect, Responsibility, Effort, Trust, and Courage. Through mentoring, role-modeling, and support, staff members build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills and facilitate youths’ successful development of competencies in the following areas:

  • Academic Skills
  • Pro-Social Skills
  • Moral Reasoning Skills
  • Workforce Development Skills
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Community Service
  • Vocational Skills
  • Family Involvement

Program Overview…

Turning Point offers a Day Treatment Program as an alternative to out-of-home placement for youths struggling to maintain themselves in their home, school, and community settings.

Operating Monday through Friday, Turning Point services offer ...

  • Daily transportation to and from program sites from home or school.
  • Individual goal plans, collaboratively developed with students, parents, and Diakon and juvenile-probation staff members.
  • Bi-lingual services for Spanish-speaking students and families. 
  • 24/7 crisis management for students and their families. 
  • Highly structured group activities, community service projects, family events, and mentoring.

In addition to structured group activities, Turning Point provides support and supervision of the following:

  • Facilitation, attendance at and participation in any court-ordered assessments.
  • Attendance and participation at scheduled school meetings.

Skills Training

Academic Skills…

At its most basic level, mentoring lets young people know that they have someone who cares about them. Through relationships with caring staff members, youths build the strengths, resilience and skills they need to thrive as adults. 

Through small class sizes—one staff member per seven students—Turning Point's academic-skills component offers one-on-one support and assistance with homework along with an emphasis on study skills and support for further educational opportunities. In addition, currents events, including local, national, and international news, are discussed by students and staff.

Diakon staff members have established a partnership with school officials through which immediate attendance reports are transmitted each morning. This emphasis is based on the fact consistent school attendance is integral to changing behaviors and meeting program expectations. Students are expected to attend school every day of the week. Truancy is reported to juvenile probation the day it occurs.

Pro-Social Skills

The pro-social skills component assists students in getting along with others and navigating difficult social situations. Turning Point students often face difficulties in regulating and controlling impulsive behaviors and solving problems effectively. Improving pro-social skills helps them to manage themselves and their responses to others or challenges more appropriately. Pro-social skills discussions and activities encompass:

  • Self-respect and respect for rules and authority
  • Drug and alcohol awareness classes
  • Developing positive communication skills and peer relationships
  • Grief and loss

Moral Reasoning Skills

Through group discussions about moral and ethical dilemmas, the moral reasoning component is designed to help students puzzle through potential issues in thinking and learn alternative ways of acting in different situations. The following types of activities motivate students to use the interpersonal and anger-management skills they have learned:

  • Victim impact, inclusive of developing a letter of apology letter to the victim (sent if applicable) and the development of "victim impact statements."
  • Accountability for reasons the student was referred to Turning Point.
  • Discussion groups on the effects of violence on communities.
  • Male domestic violence.
  • Decision-making, emotion/anger management, and conflict resolution.

Workforce Development

Developing vocational skills is a component of Turning Point's workforce development. Students are introduced to materials to further their knowledge in general vocational areas, including:

  • Horticulture – Planting, growing, and harvesting products through volunteer activities.
  • Culinary Arts – Basic industrial kitchen skills: sanitation, measuring, food-service standards, food preparation, food presentation and serving. Students actively plan, prepare, cook, and serve the meal at the end of the monthly family night.

Independent Living Skills

Instruction in independent living skills is designed to prepare young people to achieve self-sufficiency. Topics include daily living skills, money management, and time management. Diakon staff members provide classroom activities and guest speakers to assist youths in meeting the following goals:

  • Financial management.
  • Credentials/documents (photo identification, Social Security card, birth certificate).
  • Living independently.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a method that works on facilitating and engaging motivation within the students in order to change behavior. MI is a goal-oriented, client-centered counseling style for encouraging behavior change by helping students to explore and resolve different solutions to current problems. MI recognizes and accepts the fact that students who need to make changes in their lives approach counseling at different levels of readiness to change their behavior. By using MI techniques our counselors are able to assist our students in recognizing what negative behaviors they want to work on changing and then assist the students in taking the necessary steps to make those changes.

Aggression Replacement Training

Aggression Replacement Training (ART) is cognitive behavioral intervention focused on training students to cope with aggressive and violent behaviors. It is a multimodal program that has three components; Social skills, Anger Control Training and Moral Reasoning. Social Skills teaches student 50 identified social skills through definition, modeling and role play. In  Anger Control Training students relate examples of anger-arousing experiences from situations that occurred to reinforce the skills learned. In Moral Reasoning Training the student is made aware of other’s points of view and teaches students to view their world in a more fair manner and equitable way.


Community Service

In addition to Turning Point's commitment to the principles of Balanced and Restorative Justice, the program promotes the value of volunteerism and civic engagement by having students participate in community service.

Community service hours are earned through volunteering with local non-profit organizations. Specific projects at the program site include work with the Humane League of Lancaster County and the YMCA. Specific community service needs are addressed individually to assist each student in accomplishing hours of service mandated by juvenile or district courts.

Recreational Activities

Program staff members supervise and coordinate physical recreational activities for program students. Activities take place at the program site, in the community, at the Diakon Wilderness Center near Boiling Springs, Pa., and a branch of the local YMCA. 

Activities are team-oriented, with students expected to participate as part of program emphasis on behavior modification. Recreational activities include:

  • Team-oriented sports (basketball, volleyball, baseball).
  • Physical wilderness center activities (ropes course, rock wall, Alpine Tower).
  • Indoor recreational activities (board games, pool, ping-pong).

Diakon Wilderness Team Impact Activities…

During summer months, students and staff members travel to the Diakon Wilderness Center to participate in experience-based activities that focus on team-building, teamwork, motivation, and overcoming individual fears. Team impact activities include:

  • High ropes courses
  • Rock walls
  • Alpine Tower 

GPS Monitoring

For a period of up to 30 days following their start of the program—or as a sanction for not complying with program activities—Turning Point Day Treatment Program students are placed on a Diakon GPS monitor. They are rewarded with a decrease in GPS monitoring when they exhibit positive performance and behaviors.

Diakon Youth Services
571 Mountain Road, P.O. Box 10, Boiling Springs, PA 17007-0010
Phone: (717) 960-6700 | Fax: (717) 258-9408
E-mail: brodej@diakon.org | Home: www.diakon.org/youth

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