DIRT GROUP is trauma-informed children’s mental health application based in social and emotional learning. DIRT GROUP is an experiential social skills training group based in the context of a gardening / farming project for youth demonstrating signficant impairments in social functioning. DIRT GROUP was created by Kenny Turck whose family has been on the same farm since 1875 where his great grandfather Jacob threw an axe into the woods to decide where to homestead. It is this site which serves as the main experiential site for DIRT GROUP.
DIRT GROUP is informed by and grounded in 4 major theories: Experiential Learning, Social Learning, Symbolic Interactionism, and Strength – based theories. DIRT GROUP provides tangible results, skills that prepare participants for life, pride and ownership, community contributions/investment & participation (“Big Ripple Effect”), and social inclusion–fostering resiliency, competence/mastery, achievement, mindfulness, and opportunities to develop emotional and behavioral self-regulation skills.
Implications for practice include alternative education opportunities in the form of academic credits in science, writing, technology, FACS, social studies, economics, etc., community-based mental health/social/life skills training, early childhood development (brain development), juvenile and adult corrections, economic development (“What the Cluck Food Truck”, “4bubbasfoods”, and more).