When Sean entered kindergarten, Beth noticed he was having some behavioral and emotional adjustment issues. After being assessed by the school, Sean was able to join the IBHS School-Based Program Project SOAR offered through Family Services of NW PA. "It was really difficult at first, mainly because I knew how much he was having trouble," said Beth. "But it actually turned out to bring our family together better."

Project SOAR, an IBHS service licensed through OMHSAS, helps children in the Penncrest School District who are experiencing emotional and/ or behavioral difficulties in the school setting. Through Project SOAR, Sean learned a variety of coping skills to help get him through the school day. Program staff also worked with Beth and her family to make sure they had the skills necessary to support Sean at home. "It taught our family that, even though you might be different, there isn't something wrong with you," said Beth. "It is just something different about you that we need to learn more about and incorporate tools into everyday life."

During the school year, Family Night events are held regularly for families and students involved in Project SOAR. The goal is to help transfer skills to caregivers. "The Family Nights really helped him," said Beth. "It gave him a chance to have fun and be around kids that were sort of going through the same issues as him."

Sean is now in middle school and, despite having graduated from Project SOAR, continues to flourish in the school setting. "Thanks to SOAR, I even made some friends," said Sean. "In fact, one of them even became my best friend!"

Project SOAR continues to positively affect Beth and her family as well. "My second oldest son, who suffers from Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD, is now in third grade," said Beth. "He continues to flourish thanks to the program."

"SOAR really helped bring our family together," said Beth.