A look inside the Crossroads program

For the past 11 years, area students requiring specialized care due to a mental health diagnosis have been utilizing the Crossroads Partial Hospitalization day treatment program, which offers a combination of group, individual and/or family therapy, academic support and medication management.Now situated inside their new facility located on the campus of Elk Regional Health Center in St. Marys, the program serves students from seven area school districts ranging in age from 11-18 years old. Since its inception in 2000, approximately 275 students have participated in the program, which is overseen by Dickinson Center, Inc. and is a part of the St. Marys Area School District. Grant support has been provided by many community entities, including the St. Marys United Way and the Elk County Community Foundation. Upon arriving each morning, students check in with the program's secretary where they turn in any type of electronics such as cell phones and mp3 players. Tonya Wolfe, program director, oversees a small staff: Amy Gilga, a teacher with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in special education who started with the program in September; Sarah Ann Lennox, a teacher's aide certified in special education; and therapists Caraline Elias, who began working at Crossroads two months ago, and Jim Aaron, who has been with the program for nearly six years. Due to the varying ages of students, each of them is on a different curriculum which is sent on a weekly basis to Crossroads from the students'home school districts. This ensures each student stays on track with school assignments and has a smooth transition back into their class when their treatment is completed.