“Thank You” for a job well done by you and your staff. Without your hard work, we have no idea the avenue our nephew would have taken. Thank you for never giving up on him. The staff at Bonnie Brae changed my nephew’s life.” ~ Family member of a former resident. First things first: growing boys need plenty of food, a safe place to live, compassionate guidance, a structured routine, and a lot of exercise. These are all provided by our dedicated Residential Staff, whose leaders average a decade of experience at ‘the Brae.’ Bonnie Brae’s main campus is situated on a beautiful 100 acres, which includes a lake stocked with fish, an outdoor swimming pool (where boys learn to swim), high and low ropes courses, two gyms, a weight room, a theater, half a dozen outdoor basketball courts, football and baseball fields, and plenty of open green space. Especially for our residents–most of whom have lived in cycles of abuse, neglect and violence and arrive after an average five out of home placements—Bonnie Brae is an ideal place to heal through residential living.
New residents live in one of four state of the art cottages (renovated in 2012), where they are guided by mentor cottage supervisors and assigned a roommate, attend daily peer groups that facilitate personal growth, share chores, and have a consistent routine that encompasses every aspect of their lives. As the boys stabilize their presenting issues and make tangible progress, they move into one of the ‘remote’ cottages, where they cook some of their own meals and are given more freedom and responsibility. Finally, young men who have progressed significantly may move off campus into one of three community-based transitional living homes—in New Brunswick, Bound Brook or Bridgewater—where they live with a handful of other young men, prepare all their own meals, attend local schools, work, and volunteer in their community.
The residential aspect of Bonnie Brae allows us to see the boys holistically—in variety of circumstances 24/7—which a non-residential educational or therapeutic context simply cannot replicate. When personal crises do emerge (“crises” are called “opportunities” by our residential staff) these issues are addressed in real time: these real life situations, and resolutions are taught and practiced daily and contribute to the growth and healing of each and every youth that spends time here.