Archive for March 2019

Ironwood Maine Web Update

March in Maine is synonymous with maple sugaring season.  At latest count, our residents have tapped more than 100 trees.  The ideal conditions for maximum sap production are cold evenings and warm days. We have the cold evenings taken care of . . . a few more warm days would be greatly appreciated! A lot of work goes into making maple syrup: wood has been gathered to fuel the evaporator; buckets have been brought down, cleaned out, hung on the taps and covered. Both the Farmhouse and Frye residents have been helping to tap all the trees and will learn about the workings of the sugar shack next week. 

In addition to the beautiful natural setting of Ironwood, which our residents come to appreciate for its peaceful and healing qualities, our campus also abounds with animals.  On any given day, there are at least 10 dogs on campus, which bring comfort and delight to our residents and staff alike.  More than one resident has been observed sitting on reflection, with a dog by their side, and frequently our new residents express relief that there is a dog with whom they can play in the absence of their own.  Our residents learn about relationships, responsibility and more, as they interact with and care for the dogs, horses, etc. on a daily basis.  

Thursday marked another graduation and the emotional departure for a young woman who experienced tremendous growth and change in her time at Ironwood. From the slideshow, to the speeches, hugs and pictures, graduation days are very inspiring to the residents looking forward to their own graduations one day.  While one resident was leaving for home, two new residents begin their IW journey, this week. For us, there is promise and hope that we see in all residents. 

Family Weekend is fast approaching and all at Ironwood are working hard preparing for this important time of reunification and family healing.  The anticipation is present every day as we go about our Ironwood routines and we hope to see many of you very soon.

Thank you for making your child part of our lives and have a great weekend.

Ironwood Maine Web Update

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” 

Audre Lorde

This week, students at Ironwood explored the internal vision, while also finding new appreciation for the little things around them. 

​The Frye girls’ group is in a comfortable place that feels welcoming and mutuallyunderstanding. They expressed and exemplified compassion to the mini horses and other animals at the Frye barn. Even with Nappy testing their patience with a bout of unruliness, the students empathetically responded; “He is just misunderstood.” 

​In experiential group at the Farmhouse, student had the task of drawing a bigger version of a small picture with only two colors each. This practiced effective communication, while also having a bit of fun throughout the process. At Frye, the girls enjoyed the snow in art, by using food coloring to decorate their own hand-crafted ice sculptures! This creative form of expression was enriching as well as entertaining. 

On Sunday, the Farmhouse went on a spontaneous adventure to Monroe Falls. It was extra spectacular because it was mostly still frozen, creating a really unique waterfall icicle. It was beautiful to see the water falling through the ice forming lots of different formations. In music class, the Farmhouse prepared for the Family Weekend concert. Secure your tickets now, as word around campus is that it might be a packed house!

With spring right around the corner, students are staying hopeful and looking forward to the next chapter in their lives. Dare to be powerful, you will reach your vision. Have a good weekend and enjoy the warm weather!

*This update was created by a level 4 Farmhouse resident.

Ironwood Maine Web Update

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

George Bernard Shaw

At Frye, motivation is mainly external. Things that motivate people are often material, and not intimately personal. After acceptance of the program and moving up to the Farmhouse, a resident will often become more internally motivated and invested in their success. 

​This week at the Farmhouse, the groups are working on team cohesiveness and leadership. On Sunday, we went ice skating. This was loved by some, and others, not so much. In girls’ group with Alicia, we had a conversation about group dynamics and what we as a team could improve on. Each of us committed to doing something that would make positive impact on our peers. This shows motivation from the individuals in our group to get us functioning as a unit and working together. 

​At Frye, playing soccer during enrichment blocks was enjoyed by many residents. In culinary group, the residents used mills to make homemade applesauce! The group dynamic is improving and residents are learning to be cooperative, showing greater empathy for one another. This week, art really inspired a lot of us. We are learning several techniques of painting. This incentive motivates us to get our daily chores completed early so we have extra time to work on out art projects. 

​I sat down with Emmet, one of our direct care staff to talk to him about motivation:

Q: In working with us (the residents) how do you see shifts in motivation?

A: At Frye, residents aren’t able to see the end of the journey. They have to accept the program and once they accept it, they can often find motivation to move forward. Then, once they progress to the Farmhouse, going home starts to look more realistic, which is also motivating. 

Q: What motivates you while working at Ironwood?

A: I moved to Maine and started a family. I needed a career that could help me support them and happened to hear about Ironwood. Initially I was nervous because I was unsure if I would enjoy this work, or if I would be successful in this role. Later, I realized that in order to be good at something, all you really have to do is care. I really enjoy being a mentor to the residents, sharing my own passions and skills with each of you, especially how to cook. 

I took time later in the week to speak to the Frye Girls group and asked how they find motivation. A common theme was that they found motivation in thinking about the future and being with family. Others found motivation through progressing to be more of their true selves and thinking about the things they are grateful for. 

Last, I spoke with of our Senior residents, a Level 4, about how her motives have shifted throughout her time at Ironwood:

Q: How have you noticed a shift in your motivation during your time at Ironwood?

A: At the Farmhouse you are closer to going home. This makes it easier to get motivated because you can start to see it as more of a reality. Also, at Frye the atmosphere is very different, and more tense. At the Farmhouse the community is much more cohesive. 

Q: Has the natural shift from external motivation to internal motivation helped you to find yourself, and if so, how?

A: At Frye, change wasn’t realistic, but at the Farmhouse, seeing my family, going home, and change all seemed do-able. This made it easier to focus and commit to change. 

All in all, motivation is being found in big and small ways all over campus. As residents begin to change how they think, they start to feel capable and confident which helps to become motivated. The first step in finding motivation starts from within.

*This weekend’s update was written by one of our level four residents, who has made great strides during her Ironwood journey.  We are grateful to share her thoughts with you and hope that you have a great weekend.  Spring is getting close and so is our next Family Weekend.  Be well!

Ironwood Maine Web Update



​In the dictionary, personal success is defined as achieving what you want and being happy. However, at Ironwood, personal success can look very different. For some it is moving up a level in the program and for others it is just being able to have a day in which they are happy and productive. This week I will be touching on different successes from different people. 

​​The Frye girls group said that they have improved on efficiency and thoroughness in barn chores and responsibilities. Several of the Frye girls were also recognized by receiving their purples. One Frye resident said that she has finally become comfortable with the mini horse, which is definitely a personal success in her eyes. 

​​One Farmhouse resident described that she has been planning her future and Ironwood has taught her many skills to become successful. Another Farmhouse student said that the Recovery therapy group helped her see the successes within the entire group, as people who have become honest and truer to themselves. Another said that DBT helped them see new perspectives for situations that might occur when they graduate Ironwood and transition home. 

​​One staff enrichment block that seems to be really appreciated this week was the CPR/First Aid training. A resident noted that it has inspired her to work towards becoming a nurse. 

As people grow and change throughout their Ironwood program, so do their views on success and failure. They begin to see even the small things as big successes. They also begin to see failures as good learning opportunities. 

                *We are pleased to share that this weekend update has been written by one of our senior level residents.  We hope that all is well back home and we wish you all a peaceful weekend.