Category Archives: Uncategorized

CRA Hosting First Virtual Parent Weekend

Whether you are a staff, student, or parent, one of the best times at Compass Rose is Parent Weekend. Our quarterly parent weekends are designed to be intensive but fast-paced, challenging but fun, and vulnerable but rewarding.

We’ll miss seeing our families in person, but we are thankful for technology that allows us to still host virtual Parent Weekend amidst the global pandemic. This weekend will focus on one of the four areas of our Growth Model, bonding. 

The capacity to relate to God and others, to connect to something outside of yourself. All of life’s tasks rely on this ability. With it, you are never left without a way to meet your needs. 

During the weekend, parents and students will have the opportunity to participate in:

  • Devotionals
  • Special music from students
  • Family therapy sessions
  • Fun therapeutic videos from staff
  • Parent group
  • Live stream church service

Between sessions, families are invited to check into virtual “meeting rooms” to be able to have casual, unstructured conversation as desired as they would during an in-person Parent Weekend. 

We are looking forward to interacting with our parents and students during this virtual, winter Parent Weekend. 

Reframing Expectations During a COVID-19 Christmas

One of the things I’ve been thinking about is how powerful the idea of “reframing” can be. We may be overwhelmed with the idea of loss, thinking of all the things that won’t be the same over this holiday and the parties that will be canceled and the things we won’t get to do. With some “reframing” we can begin to think about how canceling some of those parties, that can actually sometimes feel like an “obligation,” can free up our time to be present with our immediate family. Being “stuck” in small groups can actually help us to be more attentive to the ones around us. Instead of going to a party that Great Aunt Jean insists on having every year even though everyone dreads it, now we just get to put on our pajamas and watch Elf or the Mandalorian or 60 Hallmark Christmas movies in a row.

A friend of mine just shared a story about how he didn’t get to see some extended family over Thanksgiving, so his nephew called him to say hi instead. This ended up turning into a really significant and meaningful conversation via phone that they probably wouldn’t have been able to have if they’d been in someone’s home surrounded by nosy aunts and uncles, a blaring television, and rambunctious kids playing hide-and-seek in the living room.

With a little reframing and a determination to stay present in the here-and-now with the ones in front of our faces, we may actually find that this holiday season lends us more time for rest, enjoying the moment, and sharing it with the ones we love the most.

–Mike Haarer, Vice President and Executive Director of Compass Rose Academy

How to Cultivate a Grateful Home During Difficult Times

The national conversation is so full of criticism and negativity that it can be difficult to find opportunities to express gratitude. It’s easy to forget what we have when we’re aggravated by outside forces. Busyness distracts us, and struggles let us down. Worry reminds us we’re not in control, and pain can cause faith to feel distant. However, God grants us hope by giving us a choice to choose gratefulness.

Gratitude allows God to do more than transform our situation, it lets Him in to transform our hearts. Giving praise grants God power over our struggles and reminds us that He is the ultimate force for good. We can then thrive in His peace as we let go of the troubles that hold us back.

Creating a grateful home begins with parents. As our hearts become filled with gratitude, our teens can learn from our example, allowing gratitude to give them the hope that transcends earthly distractions and aggravations. Here are some tips to begin cultivating a grateful home:

Seek opportunities to serve with your family.
Whether it’s a kind favor for a neighbor or a mission trip, serving acknowledges that we can always give what we have. Serving gives us a purpose outside of ourselves. This will also foster nurturing relationships that teach teens to be thoughtful and encouraging to those around them.

Teach praise in prayer.
As you pray with your teen, remember to express thanksgiving to God for all that you have been given. Although it’s easy to ask God for things, we often forget to thank Him for the blessings He has bestowed. Praising God as you pray with your teen models gratitude and turns the focus on all He is doing in your lives.

Practice appreciation.
Acknowledging the efforts of others fosters active participation in gratefulness. Teaching teens to express gratitude to others diverts attention away from self and onto the good in other people. Lead by example and vocally affirm what you appreciate in your teen.

Positive thoughts combined with action allow us to position ourselves toward a stance of gratitude. Sharing this outlook with teens shows them how to thrive through their pain. God can be praised in every moment; Thanksgiving is not merely a holiday but rather a reflection of our hearts. Every day provides an opportunity to create a grateful heart, and a grateful home.

Former Student Celebrates Finding Healing at Compass Rose Academy

I am Lucy, 16 years old and from Michigan. This is my faith story.

I came to Compass Rose Academy about eleven months ago after my parents and I realized that we could not continue on this path.  After being released from the hospital in the fall of 2019, we knew life would change. My parents found Compass Rose Academy, and thus began the journey of healing: my relationship with my parents, my relationship with myself, my relationship with the Lord. 

My faith before Compass Rose Academy wasn’t great and showed through how I behaved and how I treated myself and others. I was mean to myself, and that insecurity stemmed from the belief that I wasn’t good enough for others or even a God out there. What made me worth saving? Worth redemption? Worth love? 

These deep questions were left unanswered. I mistreated others. I was jealous, and I was hateful. I was filled with pieces of unsureness in who I was and envy that other people seemed to have it all together. 

Fast forward to six months into my healing journey at CRA; I began to see myself, others, and God very differently. I began to see myself not as good or bad but loved. 

I understood for the first time how to own my faith. It is shocking now to realize none of my past mistakes or the flaws made me unworthy in God’s eyes. He loved me then, and he loves me now.  I’m considered “healthier” now, or “better,” but it didn’t matter to God. The whole journey of my past, and my future, God is rooting for me. Whether I am sick, angry, hurt, or doing well, I think that it’s amazing how I have this companion who loves me through the thick and thin. I want to try to be more Christ-like as I imagine living in a world where more people who have pain similar to mine know they are loved so incredibly much, despite the mistakes they’ve made. 

Today, my faith journey has led me to learn how to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Even though it is true, it is so difficult at the same time. God dares me to love myself and others despite the mistakes and wrongs made because He loves me despite what I’ve done. 

What is Parent Weekend at Compass Rose Academy?

Whether you are a staff, student, or parent, one of the best times at Compass Rose is Parent Weekend. Our quarterly parent weekends are designed to be intensive but paced, challenging but fun, and vulnerable but rewarding.

There are a few primary and crucial goals for the weekends:

  1. We hope that parents walk away feeling more connected to other parents and perhaps for the first time on their journey feeling that they are not alone. They meet with other parents who’ve walked a similar road with similar challenges and draw strength, even relational fuel, from the connections they make.
  2. We hope that parents feel more connected to the staff and the overall program at Compass Rose. We want them to see the staff interact, get to know them as people, and learn more about the team as a whole that is caring for their daughter. They will also gain a better understanding of the Growth Model and gain practical tools and information to support them.
  3. We hope parents walk away with a feeling or realization that “I’m in the program too.” Often at their first parent weekend, parents begin to see hope and a path forward, including seeing ways that they themselves will be challenged and supported as they too learn and grow alongside their daughters.
  4. Finally, we hope that parents experience a challenging but supportive environment where they and their daughters can practice new ways of being and relating. There is enough time and space for old patterns to surface and just enough direction and support to begin to break old cycles.

We are looking forward to our next Parent Weekend October 8-11 that will focus on the competence aspect of the Growth Model.

Worship Band 390 East Hosts Spiritual Life Benefit Concert

Wabash area Christian band 390 East hosted a benefit concert at Wabash Friends Church for the Spiritual Life Ministry of White’s Residential and Family Services on Saturday, September 26, 2020. President and CEO Ron Evans and Director of Spiritual Life John Trimble provided organizational updates. The concert was an opportunity for the Wabash community to celebrate how God continues to work through the ministry of WRFS.

Testimonials were shared by current foster parents, a Compass Rose student, and a former Residential student. The testimonials reflected how each individual has been spiritually impacted by the ministry. 

The completely donor-funded Spiritual Life program at WRFS allows staff, students, and ministry partners the opportunity to have access to staff chaplains, worship services, and biblically based studies. 


Compass Rose Academy Launches $8 Million Capital Campaign

White’s Residential and Family Services and Compass Rose Academy launched an $8 million capital campaign to expand the mission of serving teens and families in crisis through the building of a new state-of-the-art campus for Compass Rose Academy. The campus will include homes increasing residential capacity from 20 to 48.  There will be new staff housing to accommodate 10 staff members. A multi-purpose building will house a nurse’s clinic, administrative offices, and educational and therapy spaces to support each of the specialty programs within Compass Rose. 

Compass Rose Academy seeks to effectively meet the increasing need for access to therapeutic services for families in crisis by offering an expanded, uniquely Christian and Clinical environment for teen girls.  The Board of Directors for the parent organization for Compass Rose Academy, White’s Residential and Family Services, has approved the approximately $8 million project, committing $4 million in self-investment, and relying on philanthropy through the “A Place to Heal, A Place to Grow” campaign to raise the remaining funds to complete phase one of the expansion. 

Ron Evans, President and CEO of Compass Rose Academy, said, “ We cannot believe the incredible generosity we have experienced during this campaign during an unprecedented season in our nation’s history. This campaign was launched prior the pandemic, yet we have seen an overwhelming increase of support as we continue to pave the way for families to have access to the therapeutic services their families so desperately need. We are grateful for those who have and will partner with us as we take this bold next step.”

Evans continued, “Simply put, this new campus provides the facilities needed to serve more students and families.  We will continue to advance our mission and provide hope and transformation through Christ to children and families.”

In 2012, the need for specialized therapeutic services became apparent, leading to the creation of Compass Rose Academy, a program where parents could directly access these critical services. Mike Haarer, Vice President and Executive Director of Compass Rose Academy, said “Through the years, I’ve sat with countless parents at a desperate time in the life of their family, when they’re overwhelmed and almost out of hope. Over and over again they share that they chose Compass Rose because they didn’t want to have to choose between expert, intensive clinical care and a loving, Christian environment. I’m so thankful to have a team and program that provides both to struggling girls and their families.”

To learn more about the A Place to Heal, A Place to Grow capital campaign, contact the Advancement Department at 260. 563. 1158 or visit the website


Compass Rose Academy Launches Teaching-Family Model

Compass Rose Academy has officially launched the Teaching-Family Model (TFM), an evidence-based model of care for treating children and teens in residential programs and other out-of- home therapeutic services. 

The TFM brings an established, internationally-recognized model for skills training and staff consultation in the residential treatment environment. TFM trains staff to teach youth social skills and uses a motivation system that is positive, strength based while still holding youth accountable for their choices. 

As an organization committed to enriching the lives of children and families, Compass Rose Academy has adopted the TFM model with the hopes of improving treatment outcomes for the teen girls in the care of their facility. 

“Launching this initiative is directly tied to improving the way we execute our mission and solidify our philosophy of care for years to come,” said Ron Evans, President & CEO at Compass Rose Academy. “The TFM is an investment that will propel our programs and services forward while effectively providing resources for teens and their families.” 

The TFM program uses consistent, positive teaching moments to eliminate negative behaviors and equip students with the skills needed to succeed in life. The approach allows students to accept responsibility for their actions and learn behavioral skills through positive reinforcement for desirable behaviors. 

“The Teaching-Family Model is backed up by decades of research as being a strength-based and trauma-informed behavior management model,” said Mike Haarer, Vice President & Executive Director for Compass Rose Academy. “We are very excited about seeing the ever-lasting success and effects that this model will have on the teens and families in our care.” 

The skills learned through the TFM will help youth interact more effectively with authority and improve relationships with adults. The skills will then translate to better parent-child interaction, improved school behavior following placement, and promote better work readiness. 

In the United States, the TFM is used by some of the most prominent residential treatment facilities. It is also used in various other countries worldwide. TFM was just approved as an accreditation that will be recognized by the FFPSA (Family First Prevention Services Act) to meet the requirement to be a QRTP (Qualified Residential Treatment Program). 

All Compass Rose Academy staff members will be trained in TFM beginning immediately, with full implementation by the end of the year. 

What To Do When You Don’t Measure Up To Your Ideal Self

Every time I teach on the Reality element of our Growth Model at Compass Rose, I’m reminded of how important and applicable it is. Whether you’re a teen girl in treatment, a parent, or anyone else, you are no doubt daily confronted with the opportunity to grieve losses, rebound from failure, or hold both the “good” and the “bad” in life. We define the Reality component of our Growth Model as “the ability to hold onto and pursue your ideals while accepting, forgiving, and redeeming the imperfection you encounter in yourself, others, and the world around you.”

During our Parent Weekend sessions this past weekend, we focused on developing the capacity for “integration” of positive and negative realities. We challenged students and parents alike to become aware of the subtle (or perhaps not so subtle!) voice inside that may be telling them that they are not enough. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Rich, tall, funny, talented, kind, creative enough. On and on and on it goes. As we identify all of those labels, we begin to see that we are comparing ourselves to an ideal version of ourselves. And when we realize we are not measuring up to the ideal version of ourselves, we retreat, isolate, defend ourselves, or maybe give up entirely.

It’s impossible to maintain strong, healthy relationships with others when we are stuck trying to live up to or maintain some ideal image. Only when we can learn to bring our less-than-ideal selves into safe, caring relationships with others can those “negative” or hurting parts of ourselves receive the nourishment and love they need.

What would it look like for you to let others see and love you in the midst of your failures and imperfections, without having to hide? How might you also provide the space for others to draw close to you in the midst of their own insecurities without feeling judged? To learn more about our Growth Model and how developing the capacity for bonding, boundaries, reality, and competence helps us form and maintain healthy relations, call or e-mail us today.

-Mike Haarer, Vice President & Executive Director of Compass Rose Academy

Parenting to Build in REALITY

I have 4 children at home, and each of them is so very different. Parenting, even disciplining, looks different for my generally accommodating oldest son than it does my charming youngest. In between those two, I have two very differently tempered girls – one who has instant access to anger at any given time, the other much more prone to sadness. For these reasons, it’s imperative that I know and understand the character structure of my kids in order to best help them grow and mature.

Reality is the character structure that has to do with integration. It entails the ability to grieve losses and hold the good with the bad in yourself, others, and the world. Those with deficits in this area are prone to feelings of shame and low self-worth. They can experience “I am bad” versus “I did something bad.” They also tend to have a harsh, inaccurate inner judge reminding them of their failures. While we all have a conscience that helps us navigate life, this conscience is designed to be warm and accurate, yet those with deficits in this area experience quite the opposite. In order for growth to happen in this character capacity, one needs to experience warmth from another human, outside of themselves, even as they feel they are “bad.”

This is a very fun thing to build into my daughter. As she tends to be harsh toward herself, we get the joy of watching her internalize our genuine delight in her, even as she breaks rules and makes poor choices! Sometimes we even encourage her to break rules so that we have the opportunity to love her in her imperfections! One evening at dinner she was feeling particularly low, hiding her face in her hands and sobbing because she had been mean to her sibling, and no one was as upset about it as she was with herself. One by one we challenged her to look around the table at each family member and ask them “Do you think I’m bad?” While it was hard for her to do at first, one by one each family member responded with a very different message than she had been feeling. “I don’t think you’re bad, I get frustrated too sometimes, and even though you yelled I still like you and I’m glad you’re here with us.” “I know you feel bad for doing that, but I also think about all the times you’re really nice to me and I like playing with you.” “I love you even when you make bad choices! I make them all the time!” As she went around the table hearing from each of us, our affirmations increasingly outlandish, she sat taller, tears subsided, and finally, her frown turned into roaring laughter. Had internalized our love for her. She experienced that, while she was not perfect and clearly had been in the wrong – she was enough, and she was loved.

This is the awesome work we get to do at Compass Rose Academy. We get to give parents a breather while learning about these character capacities and how to build those in, and together we get to bring experiential awareness to the young women that we serve regarding their worth. We help them grieve both their own mistakes and those made against them, holding the good and bad in themselves and the world- and amidst it all- embrace that they are loved

Director of Admissions

Madeline Spring, MA, LMHC


Compass Rose Academy Announces Board of Directors, Solidifies Vision for the Future

Wabash, IN, May 28th, 2020—Compass Rose Academy solidified their vision and commitment to providing services for families in crisis by announcing the formation of the Compass Rose Academy Board of Directors.  In 2012 the parent organization, White’s Residential and Family Services, expanded their footprint in the therapeutic industry by launching a parent choice residential treatment program serving families in crisis nationally.  Their vision for the future in an ever-changing therapeutic industry led the agency to create Compass Rose Academy.  This program directly provides access to critical treatment services for families in crisis.  Compass Rose Academy is very aware families today are dealing with trauma, addictions, relational struggles, and mental health needs at a pace no other generation of families have experienced. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate in the United States rose 31% from 2001-2017.  Our nation’s tragic rate of suicide is the second leading cause of death among our young people.  A 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 20% of adolescents suffered a major depressive episode.  Of all teens who suffered an episode, over 60 % received no treatment whatsoever for their depression.  Out of that need, and to come to the aid of the increasing number of teen girls suffering from mental illness and the often attendant behavioral issues, Compass Rose Academy was opened. 

Compass Rose Academy’s vision is moving forward in response to an increasing demand for therapeutic residential services for teen girls nationwide.  The parent organization, White’s Residential and Family Services, has made the decision to incorporate Compass Rose Academy as a subsidiary of White’s.  The new Board of Directors has been formed to guide and guard the mission of Compass Rose Academy and will continue charting the future direction to bring hope, growth, and healing to the families they serve. 

Compass Rose is an amazing organization and is distinctly both Christian and Clinical.  It provides a life-changing opportunity for teenage girls who desperately need the environment provided at Compass Rose.  It provides a place for healing and growing.  When I was first introduced to Compass Rose, I was profoundly impacted with the breadth and depth of the student offerings and the quality of the team—both the leadership and operational teams.  It is an organization grounded deeply in Christian values and all who are involved demonstrate those values in every aspect of their work with our students.  I am grateful for having the opportunity to serve on the Compass Rose Board of Directors,” said Dave Haist, Board President of Compass Rose Academy.

Compass Rose Academy welcomes the new Board of Directors: President, Dave Haist; Vice President, Pat Morrow; Board Secretary, Lisa Ford; Director, Michele Boguslofski; Director, David LePere; Director, Tom Cochran.  Visit for more information regarding the Board of Directors. 

“This is a pivotal moment in the history of White’s and a defining moment in the future of Compass Rose Academy.  We are experiencing what happens when vision and mission align and pave the way for the future. The strategic direction for both agencies has never waivered. Compass Rose Academy’s commitment to providing a Christian and Clinical approach to restoring families will remain,” stated Ron Evans, President and CEO of White’s. 

Since 2012, Compass Rose Academy has been providing residential treatment services for teen girls and families in crisis. For over 170 years, White’s Residential and Family Services has provided hope and transformation through Christ to children and families in crisis through foster care, residential treatment, and community-based services.  Together these organizations will continue the mission of providing accesses to quality treatment and a place rebuild and restore families.  

Teaching Through a Pandemic – An Educator’s Perspective

I have had the unique opportunity to continue to work with my students throughout the past few months.

A lot of thoughts have run through my head during this time. I am transported back to how I felt as a student after 9/11. It was as if the world had stopped and I was trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I didn’t understand the gravity of what was going on in the world around me. I can recall being home sick that day and feeling concerned, a little confused but also safe in the comfort of my own home.

Being an educator during this time is a tremendous responsibility. Maya Angelou captured this essence perfectly when she stated, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So how do I help my students navigate their feelings during this time? I don’t think there’s one right answer, but we have implemented the following practices in order to help our students navigate this new reality.

Stay Informed – Each day, we take the time to stay up to date on the news. This is not out of fear- but out of the opportunity to learn and fully comprehend the challenges our country is facing, how we can stay safe and what positives are coming from a nation in crisis.

Connect – We take the time to “check-in” each morning and connect. Everyone processes things differently, so discussing where we’re at emotionally can help students to connect with peers and feel safe in their classroom community.

Devotions – We start off each morning with a daily devotion that helps us to connect to God and place our trust in him, the ultimate healer.

Be Mindful – We are staying safe and mindful of our actions during this time. We are sanitizing our work areas, wearing masks, washing our hands regularly and stepping up to support each other.

I would encourage you to think about how you are implementing these practices in your own life right now. Is there one area that you need to focus more on?

By Katherine Kelly, Academic Director

The Need for Relationship

In Genesis 2 there’s an account of the creation of the heavens and earth. God had made Adam, placed him in the garden and tasked him with naming all of the animals. Adam was in perfect relationship with God. This was before the fall of man and before sin entered the world. And yet, even in perfect relationship with God, free from the influence of sin, relationship with God alone was not enough. God saw that it “was not good for man to be alone” and God made “a suitable helper for him” (vs 18). God is relational – Father, Son and Spirit – and They created man in their relational image. Our relationships with one another reflect the relational nature of the Triune God.

To say that all we need is Jesus simply isn’t biblical. God never intended us to be solely dependent on Him for our relational needs, even before sin entered the picture. The vertical relationship between us and God is extremely important and is the most precious gift we’ve been given through Christ’s faith on the cross. Likewise, the horizontal relationship between us and those around us has always been a vital resource designed by God to meet our fundamental human needs. And yet, so many of us feel shame for having needs of others. We feel like God should be enough, or we should be able to get it together on our own. Neither of these was ever His intention. He saw that it wasn’t good for us to be alone, and He made another human. It’s okay to have relational needs, and it’s okay – even necessary – that we get those needs met in other people.

We all have relational needs, every day. We need acceptance, comfort, validation, encouragement, truth, forgiveness, feedback and many more. How aware are you of your relational needs? What are you in need of right now? How willing are you to ask safe people in your life to meet your relational needs? God’s there, but He also gave you physical people – bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh – and it’s necessary that you let those around you in to meet your relational needs and visa versa. We were designed for relationship.


By Madeline Spring, Director of Admissions

Emotional PPE

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is getting lots of press these days during the Coronavirus crisis that is our nation’s current reality. Doctors and nurses on the front lines of the medical battle are clamoring for PPE that is in short supply to protect themselves from the virus as they care for those fighting it. This novel virus has made us all very aware of the germs we spread in our daily lives, especially those in medical treatment situations.

While I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of viruses and germs, there are others contagions worth considering and those are emotional contagions. Please hear me, emotions in themselves are not toxic. I am not suggesting that emotions should be contained like we are working to collectively contain COVID-19. But emotions can be contagious from person to person and they often require a response, especially if it is a negative emotion such as anger or sadness. And just like medical personnel and first responders put on PPE to protect themselves against germs and viruses, we also have responsibility to put on our own PPE in emotional contagions.

In CRA language, this is what we call “Boundaries.” This is the capacity to own what is ours to own and move from “I deserve” to “I am responsible for.” Boundaries are especially true in the area of emotions. So whether you are trying to figure out how to stay emotionally healthy in a time of social distancing and self-quarantining, or you are just trying to get healthier emotionally in daily life, here are some tips:

  1. Put Your Mask On. You are responsible to take care of yourself first and I am responsible for me. If you and I are not in our own healthy emotional place, there will not be enough empathy or energy to care for those we love. Our nation’s medical staff is demonstrating this so well for us right now. They know that if they aren’t protected with masks, they run the risk of contracting the virus themselves and not being useful in their work. The same is true for you (and me)- maybe we need to care for our self and our soul, maybe we need to refuel by reaching out to one of our friends to get our own needs met relationally or spending quiet time in meditation, maybe we need to practice gratitude or honor our negative feelings. Whatever it looks like, put your own mask on.
  2. Distance Yourself. Experts across the world are encouraging us to distance ourselves to “stop the spread” of Coronavirus.  And many of us need to “stop the spread” of emotional toxicity in our circles of friends and family members. We do this by developing our sense of self which allows us to grow in our ability to separate from toxic emotions of others. Unhealthy people in our lives know how to use their situations to pass on emotional turmoil to us. But we get to choose if we take that on or not. Sometimes we are in a healthy place and can step into empathy, grace, and compassion. And sometimes we just can’t- and that’s okay too.  When we develop a healthy sense of self, we become aware of what are our emotions and what are the emotions of others.
  3. Flatten the Curve. We have to be intentional about de-escalating our own emotions in heightened or intense situations. Our ability to self soothe is the buffer between our internal feelings and our external expression of those feelings. We get to activate our self-soothing whether the people around us do or not. Through developing distress tolerance and emotion regulation, we create our own internal regulated pattern even if the world around us is unregulated.

Most of us are hopeful that our life returns to pre-Coronavirus status soon.  Some experts are saying there will be a “new normal” or new patterns that emerge because of this pandemic.  But I also want to encourage you to develop a new pattern of emotional health by developing boundaries using Emotional PPE. You have the power to protect, sustain, and improve your quality of life because healthy emotional boundaries actually enhance relationships.

By Stacey Ruberg, Clinical Director of Compass Rose Academy

Grief in Light of the Pandemic

Everyone is being affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in many ways. Many are experiencing some level of anxiety, and those that struggle with anxiety are certainly battling increased feelings of anxiety as this pandemic continues.   At Compass Rose Academy, we approach this season by helping others grieve their losses and allow space for people to share the negative experiences they are facing.

Fear grips many who are afraid for their loved ones. People are worried about their finances and how the stock market has been affected. What started as small and large businesses increasing social-distancing protocols and limiting their hours quickly escalated to many choosing to (and even being forced to) close their doors, creating grave financial loss. In addition to the fears of the unknown and what is to come, multitudes are grieving and experiencing loss.

Athletes who worked tirelessly to prepare for competitions are not able to compete. Parents and families who were looking forward to time together have now postponed or cancelled vacations. Experiences like graduations, baby showers, weddings, and honeymoons are not happening at all for the foreseeable future. Parents are taking vacation time or unpaid time off to stay home with their kids whose school has been canceled. Many are incurring unforeseen expenses and stresses while finding and paying for childcare. Kids and adults alike are feeling the real loss of physical connection with friends. The list of losses experienced during this pandemic is staggering.

How do you respond to losses in your life? While it’s helpful to be able to find things to be grateful for in the midst of loss- and yes, the ability to see the silver lining can be a relief- it is essential to allow yourself (and others) to feel and grieve the realities of life. The ability to deal with negative reality is one of four “life capacities” Dr. John Townsend and the Growth Model advocate are necessary components of a person’s character.

Our philosophy of care centered on the Growth Model calls this character capacity Reality.

To build this capacity into your character structure, you must learn to accept what is and grieve in healthy ways so that you can adapt to reality. Take the initiative and continue to lean into the losses you are experiencing:

  • Identify/name your losses.
  • Share with a safe person how these losses are impacting you.
  • Assess your feelings and share the sadness surrounding theses losses.
  • Allow for time – let grief do its work.
  • Allow yourself to receive comfort from a safe person in your life.

At Compass Rose Academy, we say that with intimate, needs-based attachments we are not left without a way to meet our relational needs. Make sure you are using your safe relationships to get your needs for comfort met as you grieve and adapt to the negative realities we are all facing during this challenging time. Furthermore, be a safe person for others to share their losses and receive comfort, avoiding the tendency to minimize pain by attempting to lessen or fix it.   In this way, practice healthy grief in light of this pandemic.


By Madeline Spring, Director of Admissions

March 17, 2020 UPDATE – Response to COVID-19

As we continue to monitor the situation related to COVID-19, we want to keep you updated on how it impacts our operations and schedule here at Compass Rose. Obviously, this is a fluid situation, so we will do our best to keep projecting to the best of our ability, understanding that circumstances and restrictions are evolving rapidly.

Some basic changes that are in place until further notice include:

  • On-campus visitation is suspended and no outside guests are allowed on campus.
  • Saturday morning Parent Group sessions will be virtual only, with no on-campus meetings.
  • Students will not be attending off-campus outings including leisure trips, church services, or other community “outings.”
  • Off-campus visitation and home passes are permitted. If parents are picking up students for off-campus or home passes, they will not be allowed to enter any campus building. Therefore, the student will be escorted to the family vehicle in front of the main Hodson Campus Center after the parent has completed a screening questionnaire.
  • Due to restrictions from our licensing agency that are in place for at least the next 8 weeks, our Spring Parent Weekend will be canceled or postponed. Stay tuned for more information in regard to visitation during that weekend and any virtual informational or teaching sessions that may be scheduled.
  • Our students currently continue to remain in classes. There is no indication that there should be any disruption, particularly to the online classes students are enrolled in even if we cannot use the school building for any reason in the future.

Our individual, group, and family therapy services will continue to remain in place without interruption and at this time our full staff is in place.

We are reminded to keep our eyes on the Lord during this challenging time, knowing that He can work all things for his redemptive purposes. We remain in prayer for our communities, all CRA families, our nation, and the world as a whole as we face this situation together.

We are grateful for our CRA families and your support and understanding. Please remain attentive to our e-mails and website as we post updates.

Thank you and God bless you!

Mike Haarer

Executive Director

Response to coronavirus

Compass Rose Academy is taking the following measures to address the Coronavirus (COVID-19) concern as well as our current plan for visitation both on and off-campus.  First and foremost I want to emphasize our utmost concern is the health and safety of the students we serve.  We will continue to make related decisions on a day-by-day basis following consultation with our administrative team, medical staff, school administrators, local medical providers and other resources able to provide pertinent information.  Below are the steps we are currently taking to address the situation:

  • Our Human Resources Department is providing staff current information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and updates
  • There are posters throughout our campus identifying prevention steps and symptoms that indicate medical attention is warranted
  • Our Support Services and houseparents will be increasing sanitation efforts both on campus and in the cottage settings
  • Our medical staff are visiting cottages to provide education to our students on prevention strategies and to answer any questions
  • All Residential staff are being provided the fact sheet from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, “Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” to assist with helping provide a safe environment and accurate information to students
  • We will proceed with student home visits as scheduled – Our team will contact families prior to visitation and inquire:
    • If there has been anyone in the home who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms consistent with Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • If anyone in the home has been in the presence of a person exhibiting flu-like symptoms consistent with Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • If anyone in the home has recently traveled outside of the country
    • Should a family member indicate yes to any of the preceding questions the visit will be suspended
  • Upon return to our campus following a home visit students will meet with a Campus Life Specialist who take their temperature and contact First Aid (Nurse’s Office) staff if there is a report of the student having flu-like symptoms or being exposed to flu-like symptoms during the visit
  • Our First Aid Department will conduct a follow-up assessment to check the student for flu-like symptoms including fever, body aches, chills, trouble breathing, chest tightness, nausea or vomiting – medical attention will be provided to students through Parkview Physicians Group or Emergency Room should there be concern related to these symptoms
  • Group outings to the community will be evaluated daily based on internal administrative review, local school administrative decisions and recommendations from local medical providers
  • Should a student demonstrate symptoms that indicate the need for separation and/or quarantine, our plan will be to maintain them in our Refocus Unit until medically cleared

Our licensing agency, The Indiana Department of Child Services, has scheduled twice weekly (Monday and Thursday) calls with providers to address concerns and answer questions related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) – We will use information and guidance provided from these calls when making ongoing decisions.


Curiosity almost killed our family feline a few months ago. My daughter provided a simple invitation by leaving the dryer door cracked open after retrieving an item to wear to church one Sunday morning. My husband walked through the mudroom on the way to start the car and latched the dryer door shut, unbeknownst to him that he was securing the cat in the dryer, which had begun her morning nap. We all went to church and came home for dinner. While the others were cleaning up, I started the dryer to fluff a load of clothes before folding them. I heard a “t-thunk, t-thunk” and remarked to my husband in the kitchen that it sounded like someone put a pair of shoes in the dryer. I also simultaneously looked in the dryer window to see the cat spinning with the clothes. Of course, I immediately opened the door and relieved the cat from her “Sunday ride.” She was unharmed thankfully.

Curiosity likely took one of our cat’s nine lives that day and has been blamed for stealing many or all the nine lives of cats for centuries. There’s even a proverb “curiosity killed the cat” that is a warning against being curious about other people’s affairs because it might lead to trouble.

But curiosity is life-giving to the parent-child relationship.  Genuine interest is foundational to building a relationship with a real connection. We are born and created with an innate desire to be known.  Curiosity helps us move from unknown to known relationally (This is the character structure of Bonding in our CRA Growth Model).

However, there is a paradox that we must embrace uncertainty to get curious. There is a sort of “unknowing” in which we set aside our judgments, experiences, desires, and power as parents to get curious with, and about, our children.  It takes strength and security on our part as parents to be uncertain- to let our kids teach us about themselves, to let them fail, and to let them define who they are apart from us.

Here are some tips for getting more curious with your teen:

  • Slow down- one or two thought-provoking questions can be much more insightful than interviewing your teen like a news reporter (TableTopics Family card sets have some great questions if you need help getting started). And if your teen isn’t used to being pursued relationally like this, it may take multiple attempts to engage them. I find that the car a great place to try this out because family members can’t just leave, and yet defensiveness is lower naturally because parents and teens aren’t facing each other.
  • Explore multiple perspectives before assuming yours is the correct one- when we have more understanding, we earn more influence in problem-solving.
  • Remain tentative- nobody likes a “know it all,” and your teen will undoubtedly protest if that is the stance you take. Share your wisdom and experiences humbly and ask for your teen’s response to what you share. That will help you determine if they are accepting or protesting you, your ideas, or both and if your relational pattern needs work.

The Love Chapter from 1 Corinthians

In light of today being Valentine’s Day and of our recent Parent Weekend focused on bonding, attachment, and fostering healthy connection in our families, I wanted to share my paraphrase of “The Love Chapter” from 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 Mike’s Paraphrase
If I were to speak with brilliance and lecture with the most compelling reasoning imaginable, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to nothing more than the echoing sound of a barking dog. And I were to have the gift of forecasting the future and understanding the hidden mysteries of God, (which often I am convinced I do and if only my children listened to me, they would be spared all manner of adversity), if I possessed supernatural wisdom, if my faith could move a mountain, erase a hurt, or rewind time, but if I never learned to love, then I am nothing. And if I were to be so generous that I give away everything, work to the point of exhaustion to provide, maintain a home, put nurturing food on the table, make sacrifices that my kids don’t see and won’t appreciate until they are parents, without the pure motive of love, it’s all for nothing.
Love is immeasurable and exceedingly patient.
Love is gentle and kind.
Love doesn’t get jealous.
Love has no need to feel admired or important.
Love doesn’t deal in shame or disrespect.
Love isn’t concerned about looking good.
Love is not quickly annoyed or irritated.
Love is not easily offended.
Love thrives on the truth and not wrongdoing or causing harm.
Love lays out a welcome mat and creates safety.
Love never stops seeing and believing the best in others.
Love hopes.
Love never stops at failure but sees it as an invitation to deeper connection and purpose.
Love never quits.
Mike Haara
Mike Haarer, MA, LMHC
Executive Director



We recently had our quarterly “Parent Weekend” which is an intensive weekend of growth and healing for our clients and their families. Our girls and their parents engage in 4 days of connecting and experiential activities, group and family therapies, and hours of experiential training in order to gain access to and create healing in one of 4 character capacities – this particular weekend focused on bonding. Many of our girls (and their parents) were able to recognize deficits in the basic human need and first developmental task: attachment. Some recognized enmeshed attachment, whether with a caregiver or friends. Others identified lacking in the area of need-based attachment and were able to identify obstacles to this that occurred early on in life (adoption, lack of secure attachment of parent with their own caregiver, etc.).

Every human needs attachment. Every human was born with an innate need for connection. Each child arrives in this world totally dependent on the caregiver, not only for food and physical safety but also for emotional and relational connection. When this healthy attachment is hindered, babies learn that they are not safe- that this world is not safe- and they begin to build strategies to cope with this reality, which causes issues and mental health symptoms later. They often learn that their needs are not legitimate or that it’s not safe to bring their needs to a relationship because they will not be met, so they deduct that it’s easier not to have needs at all. As we learn about the relational needs we all have and begin to identify not only what those needs but also how to verbally ask for those needs to be met by trusted, safe people, we begin to integrate new experiences: that we have needs, our needs are legitimate, and with strong relationships, you’re never left without a way to meet your needs.