Volunteering and White River Academy

Beyond the college checklist: Volunteerism from the heart

70 percent of university admissions officers polled prefer to see a student who volunteers with one cause, not one who dabbles.

The vast majority of admissions officers affirm they can see right through a student who volunteers from their ambition and not their heart.

This, according to a collaboration with DoSomething.org — an organization encouraging youth volunteerism within communities. It surveyed admissions officers from more than 30 top universities in the country, as ranked by US News & World Report.

White River Academy

White River Academy, WRA, is a residential therapeutic school for boys aged 12-17 who struggle with mental health, behavioral and substance abuse issues. A distinguishing element of WRA is the incorporation of autonomy with respect to community service projects. Young men repurpose their energies through volunteerism. Boys are taught project management steps: idea formation to presentation; plan and team formulation; fundraising; supply purchase and creative task completion within the neighboring community.

WRA does not just hand over a brush with a can of paint and tell the teenagers to refresh a fence; rather it guides the teenage boys to mindful participation.

Rebuilding relationships is fostered via parent training and seminars; family therapy sessions and family bonding weekends.

Through formidable guidelines and unpretentious teaching, the boys not only receive treatment for abuse and disorders, but rearing specific to rejoining mainstream after graduation from the program.

However, childrearing isn’t the only motivation to volunteer.

Benefits of volunteering

A study from the Eric Institute of Education found, “Middle and high school students who engaged in quality service-learning programs showed increases in measures of personal and social responsibility, communication and sense of educational competence.”

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., explores the inspiration behind young adults who hold a passion for community service and volunteer work. “Kids who develop a passion to serve can usually point to a critical volunteer experience that became transformative for them.” This experience according to Mitchell, “Involves face-to-face interaction with people who are different from them and most often, with people who are in need… They begin to see how issues are connected to each another and become interested in understanding the root causes of societal problems.”

Volunteer work and community service help the individual discover his or her place in the world. Psychological treatment modalities combined with self-expressive adjuncts to therapy, like those of WRA and other programs, cultivate a well-rounded rehabilitated youth.

Written by Nick Adams Sovereign Health Group writer





Expanding the Continuum of Care at Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School

The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School is pleased to present the next phase of it’s continuum of care with the Brooke Whitted Center. This Program provides 18 to 25 year college capable emerging adults the opportunity to achieve increased independence. A highly skilled clinical and transitional team provides individualized services in a 24/7 supportive milieu. Participants are able to maximize the support they receive by having clinical staff and transitional staff at their residence, the Brooke Whitted House, located next to the Orthogenic School and the Brooke Whitted downtown location.

Enrollment is based on rolling admissions, and we are now accepting applications. Those students who are accepted for placement, would begin around January 1.

For additional information regarding the application and interview process, or to schedule a tour, contact either:


Kathy Daniker, LCPC                                                        Norm Ostrum, MA

Director of the Brooke Whitted Center                       Business Development Associate

773-420-2597                                                                   269-830-8576