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February 3, 2013
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Bright Future Foundation expands role and offerings

EAGLE COUNTY - Most of us could use some help dealing with the world from time to time. The Bright Future Foundation is going to try to provide at least some of that help.

The foundation, known primarily for its work with women and children in abusive situations, has been expanding its role recently and will soon launch a series of classes to help provide "coping skills" for adults.

"We're looking for people who need help with their relationships, their lives," Bright Future Foundation therapist Casey Wolfington said.

Ideally, people will sign up for the class - which starts Feb. 14 - before they're in crisis.

Wolfington and the foundation see plenty of people who are already in a crisis of one kind or another. The group works with women in abusive homes or who have been sexually abused, and Wolfington sees plenty of troubled children and teens.

The idea the foundation is pursuing now is to try and reach people before their lives spiral out of control.

In schools, that means trying to reach out to kids about bullying and other deviant behavior.

"We're trying to stop the behavior before it's ingrained," she said. "That can be as young as second grade."

Part of Wolfington's approach is dealing with individual kids, helping youngsters understand their own problems and ways to deal with conflicts in their lives. But it's also important that people in school understand and help stop bullying.

"Unless it's uncool to bully, the behavior will just perpetuate," she said.

Changing a culture means getting everyone from administrators to teachers to parents involved, she said.

For teens and adults, Wolfington uses "Dialectical Behavior Therapy," which she said is a "model for concrete coping skills."

Many times, Wolfington deals with people who are in the court system, but some of those people don't necessarily want help. For the new classes, Wolfington wants volunteers.

"Ideally, this works best if you're motivated, if you're saying to yourself, 'This isn't working,'" Wolfington said.

The class lasts eight weeks, and some of the important things students will learn are communication skills.

"It's about talking to people to get the response you want," Wolfington said.

But it's in youth where some of the most profound work can take place. That's why the foundation still operates the long-running Buddies Program - which is always looking for volunteers, by the way - that teams at-risk kids with responsible adults.

"We really try to get 'em young," Wolfington said.


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The VailDaily Updated Feb 3, 2013 05:22PM Published Feb 3, 2013 05:17PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.