Our 90 acre campus sits in the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania, tucked quietly away from what many of our kids are accustomed to. This setting provides a fresh start, from the moment you turn onto our tree lined drive. In a safe, nurturing, and structured environment, we empower young men and women to make positive changes in their behavior, their attitude, and their beliefs.
Abraxas I (AI) operates under a trauma-informed care model and utilizes a number of evidence and competency based curricula. Young men and women often come to Abraxas with a lack of clarity about how their substance abuse and/or behavior is affecting them, their family and their future. Our clinical programs instill ownership, develop competencies, increase confidence and empower youth to refocus and take the steps necessary to make changes. Our young men and women participate in a variety of therapeutically structured activities including individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, clinical study, life skills education, vocational exploration, recreation and volunteer work in the local community.
Since its inception in 1973 under a contract with the Governor’s Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, AI has treated residents in the interrelated areas of substance use/abuse, socialization, education/vocation, family, delinquency, community awareness and victim impact. Although rooted in substance abuse treatment, we continue to expand our service offerings. And now, 45 years later, we are proud to offer five different treatment programs on campus.
Click and explore the links below to learn more about the program.
Abraxas I is a multi-service campus which offers treatment programs for substance abuse, delinquency and medically necessary mental health services.
AI offers inpatient drug and alcohol treatment for delinquent and/or dependent male youth ages 13 to 18+. The program goal is to eliminate drug abuse/dependency and delinquency, and develop competencies that will enable our youth to function as responsible members of the community. Residents participate in a variety of therapeutically structured activities including individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, clinical study, AA/NA groups, life skills education, recreation and volunteer work in the local community. Treatment planning integrates the concepts of Balanced and Restorative Justice by focusing on offense specific counseling, victim awareness, accountability and competency development.Fully funded by Managed Care for Pennsylvania youth who meet the requirements for this level of treatment (ASAM Level III.1 or III.5). Managed Care Organizations include CBH, PerformCARE, CCBHO, MHS and VBH.
STEP is an open residential unit on the AI campus providing social skill development and substance abuse education/prevention for delinquent and/or dependent male youth ages 13 to 18+. Utilizing a cognitive behavioral model and a trauma informed care approach, a strong emphasis is placed on life skill development and Balanced and Restorative Justice.
IORP is a highly structured, staff-secure residential unit on the AI campus. IORP provides individualized treatment for delinquent and/or dependent male youth ages 13 to 18+ who have diverse needs directly impacting their delinquency issues, and as a result, may have demonstrated resistance toward other treatment programs. Utilizing strengths based approach, IORP focuses on intensive clinical programming, evidence based curricula, personal character development, and specific counseling to remedy family deficits. The program is designed as an alternative to secure placement.
ARMHS is a PRTF (Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility) for male youth ages 12 to 18+. With a 1:4 staff to youth ratio and 24/7 supervision, the program provides a supportive environment that promotes success through the development of pro-social behaviors and adaptive living skills. The treatment milieu is highly structured, consistent, and predictable in order to match the treatment environment with the functional level of each resident. Each youth’s individualized course of treatment is designed through a multi-disciplinary team approach which includes assessment, treatment planning and intervention strategies. All youth participate in an intensive evidence-based group curriculum which includes anger management, social skill development and Balanced and Restorative Justice. Our goal is to holistically address each youth’s emotional needs and assist him in developing the skills necessary to function in the least restrictive environment that is clinically appropriate.
Abraxas I strives to help delinquent and/or dependent young women, ages 13 to 18+ develop a strategy for recovery through building positive relationships; enhancing self-esteem and body image; teaching life skills; and providing clinical services, in effort to support a sober and successful future. Highlights include Drug & Alcohol specific treatment (minimum of 10 hours per week); gender specific programing utilizing A Woman's Way Through the Twelve Steps, Moving On and Girls Circle; on-site PTSD groups; individual, group and family counseling; outpatient sexual assault counseling; and outpatient trauma focused therapy (as deemed necessary).Fully funded by Managed Care for Pennsylvania youth who meet the requirements for this level of treatment (ASAM Level III.1 or III.5). Managed Care Organizations include PerformCARE, CBH, CCBHO, MHS and VBH.
The on-site Arlene Lissner Middle/High School is a private school licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Because each student has unique needs and goals, the following educational services are available:
In addition to our core course offerings,
Several electives including art, music and family consumer science are offered. Within family consumer science, students participate in classroom focused instruction in parenting, driver’s education and housing and money management. The school also hosts a number of student clubs to include such areas as Wellness, Crafting, Industry and Ichthyology.
Programs of study include the following: Culinary Arts (Boys & Girls), Horticulture (Girls), Building Trades (Boys), Microsoft Office (Boys & Girls) and CNA Program (Girls) with local nursing home.
The following certifications and trainings are offered: ServSafe, 6 different OSHAs, Microsoft Office, Ed2Go & Alison Courses, Introductory Manufacturing Classes, First Aid, CPR, Wilderness First Aid & CPR and Driving Simulator with 16 different lessons with certifications
Abraxas I has developed a partnership with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and provides OVR group services, paid work experiences and works to get students fully qualified into OVR so when they return to their home communities they can use OVR as a resource in job placement and to help defray the cost of college. AI offers employment opportunities for OVR students as well as students who may not qualify for OVR.
Paid Work Experiences
Abraxas I residents have earned and paid an average of $25,000 per year the past two years, and in 2018 earned and paid almost $40,000 toward fines, costs and restitution. The facility has secured a $12,000 TANF grant for 2019 and with our OVR opportunities should exceed $50,000 in 2019. Our TANF opportunities (for 35 students) are for all residents ages 12 and above. In the TANF grant, students are paid a stipend of $305 for a four week education/hands on program.
OVR paid work experiences are for students who are Juniors, Seniors, GED or age appropriate students who have also completed a 6 week OVR group session. Age appropriate would be students who are 17 or 18 but are in a lower grade level. These students qualify to earn $10.35/hr for 90 hours. AI also offers paid work experience to high school graduates (who can earn $120 a month attending school four periods and working 4 periods a day.) Other students have opportunities to earn paid stipends as well. OVR paid work opportunities include Custodial, Clerical, Food Services, Carpentry, Landscaping, Shipping and Receiving, Painting and Drywall and Automotive Detailing.
These opportunities are both on and off grounds.
Abraxas I recognizes the value of having families involved and highly encourages family participation in treatment. Program staff work with each youth to help strengthen his or her family relationships and build a stronger foundation for the return home. Families are encouraged to be involved through visitation, scheduled phone contacts, family sessions and family days. Visitation assistance is available on a case-by-case basis. Please speak to the youth’s counselor for more information.
AI has several long standing partnerships with local communities, churches, businesses and charitable organizations. Some of these projects include food banks, yard maintenance, building maintenance, fish stocking through the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, and working monthly/yearly events. In most cases students are working directly with the public during these events serving various members of the community. These opportunities are both on and off grounds.
Abraxas I averaged 10,000 hours of community service per year for the last three years.
Interscholastic Athletics and Intramural Athletics
Athletics not only give young men and women a physical and emotional outlet, but also provide valuable lessons in team work, self-confidence, perseverance and leadership. Our involvement in PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc.) football, track and field, wrestling (boys) and softball (girls) further illustrates our holistic approach to treatment.
The interscholastic athletic programs at Abraxas I take on a much different look than at most residential facilities. More than 20 years ago, we started a co-op program with Sheffield Area High School for football. It was, and continues to be a win-win situation. Abraxas provides Sheffield with 20 athletes to boost their participation numbers and Abraxas residents are given the opportunity to play PIAA football. The successful football partnership then led to more opportunities and now includes four sports.
In addition to our PIAA teams, Abraxas I provides a number of intramural sports to include basketball, flag football, softball and volleyball. On-site athletic facilities include a regulation size gymnasium, fitness/weight room, hand ball court and baseball field.
The Abraxas I / Sheffield football co-op was featured on Sports Illustrated Underdogs - Inspiring Stories in High School Football.
Abraxas I is a certified PREA Facility
Abraxas I is accredited by The Joint Commission
Abraxas I has partnered with the Sanctuary Institute for clinical and organizational change
Abraxas I is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Academic Career/Technical Training Alliance