The Guidance Center

Since 1946, The Guidance Center has served underprivileged children, troubled children who are victims of abuse and neglect, children suffering from mental illness and/or depression, and families coping with gangs and violence. They have provided much-needed comprehensive mental health treatment to children and their families in Long Beach and Compton, helping them feel better and function more effectively in their daily lives. In addition to their main location, a significant portion of services are provided at schools, in homes and in other community settings because transportation and access barriers interfere with seeking out and receiving mental health services. Field-based services require therapists to create a "therapeutic environment" wherever the sessions occur. The Women Helping Youth grant of $9,420.55 will provide 42 Play Therapy on the Go Kits including rolling carrying cases, hundreds of traditional and therapeutic games, costumes, multi-cultural dolls and puppets, miniature figures, and traditional and sensory integration toys. The kits will be used in a variety of ways to help children effectively identify, express and manage anger, learn conflict resolution and communication skills, and aid emotional and social development. They will be used to promote recovery, reduce anxiety, aggressiveness or isolating behavior by encouraging participation in group activities, build a bridge of trust between therapist and child, and as an outlet for creative expression of feelings and experiences. Parents will also learn how to play appropriately with their children and certain toys will provide a vehicle for the kids to communicate unexpressed feelings regarding traumatic incidents and physical and emotional abuse. Each year approximately 613 children at 22 schools and 160 children at the Compton/Lynwood Clinic will utilize the kits.