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/foods/creative arts project for youth demonstrating significant impairments in social functioning as a direct result of a mental health disorder. However, Kenny Turck (MSW, LICSW) DIRT GROUP’s founder, acknowledges profound implications for mainstream students, neighborhood development, chemical health treatment, and correctional settings among others.
DIRT GROUP is informed by and grounded in 5 major theories: Experiential Learning, Social Learning, Symbolic Interactionism, Strength–Based, and Ecological Systems 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 emotional and behavioral self-regulation skills.
Additional potential implications for practice in 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).
In 1875, Kenny’s grandfather Jacob threw an axe into the woods to decide where to build the family’s first home and they have been there ever since. It is this family farm site which served as the main experiential site for DIRT GROUP since the beginning of the 21st century.