Contact us Monday through Friday 8:00am CST to 4:30pm CST at 715-327-4402

Artist in Residence: Kat King Making Connections Through Music

Artist in Residence Kat King brings joy and inspiration through music!

For the past four weeks, creativity has been bountiful at Schaefer Cabin thanks to our wonderful Artist in Residence Kat King. Kat has spent the last month living at Schaefer Cabin sharing her talent and passion for music with the kids. Groups from each unit were able to visit Kat at the cabin each week and experience all that music can do to benefit a person’s mental and emotional state. Writing, playing, and listening to music can be a positive outlet for the kids to be able to outwardly portray and understand what it is they may be struggling with internally. Music is a great way for an individual to express themselves and to connect with a group, making it easier to open up and communicate emotions and thoughts.

At Northwest Passage, this year, the Artist in Residence program allowed our residents to explore their imagination, use

creative writing to express themselves, and find purpose in their lives through the vehicle of music. Truly, it’s been amazing 

to behold a glimpse of their stories taking flight. 

~ Molly Thompson, Expressive Arts Instructor

The process of songwriting began with the kids and Kat going on a silent nature hike down to the Namekagon River and through the woods, observing their senses and surroundings. After the hike, the kids were given time to free-write about what they saw, heard, and felt. Once everyone was given the time to reflect, the kids began to share the things in nature they observed. As the kids shared, Kat wrote down all the different expressions and metaphors that the kids used to relate nature back to their experiences. In no time the groups had established a unique, collaboratively written song. The kids then worked with Kat on the melodies, and getting their songs performance ready for the Artist Reception that was held at the end of Kat’s stay.

Many of their writings were incredibly deep and insightful and before I knew it we had a whole marker board full of potential

song lyrics and ideas. It was fun to see one kid share an idea and soon other kids in the room were lighting up and sharing

their own ideas, the room alive with a creative energy that I live for. The cabin allowed me the space and solitude to come up

with melodies to their lyrics and seeing their reactions from watching their songs come to life was incredibly rewarding. 

~ Kat King

Artist in Residence

Watching the process unfold and ideas come together, the introspection and the laughter, and the creativity and insight guided by a gifted artist and team of dedicated counselors was truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Kat helped the kids to not only find the musicians and songwriters within themselves but also to incorporate lyrics with metaphors from nature and their own journeys of mental health. The songs they created helped to show their true selves and they will become part of the way that they define themselves to the world.

~ Ian Karl

Experiential Programming Coordinator


Raging Fire

By  Maple


If I go near the water, my flames might burn out

So I stand here staring with this fear and doubt, fear and doubt

This fast moving current fills me with dread

All these “what if’s” swirling around in my head, in my head


A few drops of water may dampen the flame

But the current can’t stop me, I’ll rise above the pain

I take a deep breath and my dreams rage on

Pushing past the water that’s confined me so long

My mental health may have left a smudge

But watch me trek on through the sludge, through the sludge

Jumping this river may help me say

I made it through another day, another day


Oh – oh – oh- oh- oh- oh- oh (4X)


My hopes and dreams rage on

Because of the fire, the forest lives on

My roots are settled deep and strong

I finally feel like I belong

Wooden Palace

By Willow

Birds call out somewhere above

Welcoming us with their songs of love

Let the river lead you there

It can guide you anywhere

Hearing birds sing as we walk

I would rather listen than talk

I can hope, I can dream

I can laugh, I can sing

Trees stand tall, peace sets in

Schaefer Cabin is a win

Palace full of positivity

It can be your friend if you let it be

Unplugged with an open heart

Absorbing nature brings a new start

Set things free, let them live

Endless vibes nature can give

Enter in, forget your worries

Let it speak, hear the stories

Trees stand tall, peace sets in

Schaefer Cabin is a win

River of Sorrow, River of Hope

By Riverside

The river rushing by, I’m getting passed by

I’m stuck while things keep moving

Sometimes life isn’t for choosing

The process, oh, so slow

Leaves are the first to go

Now a log, but once a tree

This isn’t how it’s supposed to be

I have hit rock bottom, now it’s time to rise

Maybe getting stuck was a blessing in disguise

These layers are holding me together

My temporary home – I won’t be stuck forever

This is just a pause

The things I’ve been through, the things I have seen

The things I have witnessed – I wish my mind was clean

I’ve come to realize I wouldn’t change a thing

Everything I’ve been through

It’s made me who I’m meant to be

Once a river of sorrow

Now the river of hope

Fast or slow

Ready for the torrential flow

Life is Nature

By Oak


I have the eye of sight, but I can’t see

Feels like I’m being walked on like leaves

Would somebody please show respect to me

River is the path driven by the current

Taking away the pain so I won’t feel hurt


Standing tall and firm like a tree

And ask for what I need

I can be as confident as I want to be

River is flowin’ like the breeze that’s blowin’

Always flowing forward, I won’t go back

Looking downstream with uncertainty

Not knowing where it leads

Fill up my soul with the peace it needs

I’m beginning to see this positivity

The path that is within me

The path that is within me for which I need

I believe there’s a magic about the Artist in Residence program that no other program can grasp. I get to see the residents

engage each moment we spend at Schaefer Cabin and watch them grow as a unit and as individuals, which helps

tremendously in their self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-awareness. The program also connects them with nature,

creativity, and the relationships they form while at Northwest Passage. 

~ Molly Thompson

Expressive Arts Instructor



Save the Date and Spread the Word!

It has been forty years since Northwest Passage opened their doors to hope and healing, and none of it would have been possible without our amazing staff!

Join us on Saturday, August 25 to celebrate the role that staff has played in the forty year legacy of Northwest Passage – past and present! This employee-led event will be hosted at the Band Shell at the Crooked Lake Park in Siren, WI. Come for the music, the BBQ, the yard games tourney, and the memories…stay for the fun!

  • WHO: Northwest Passage Employees and their families
  • WHAT: BBQ picnic to celebrate past and present staff
  • WHEN: Saturday, August 25, 4 pm
  • WHERE: The Band Shell at Crooked Lake Park in Siren, WI

Join our Facebook Group: NORTHWEST PASSAGE EMPLOYEE PAGE to receive event updates and to RSVP


RSVP in the Google Form below!

Can’t wait to celebrate! Hope to see you all there!

We’re Looking for YOU!

Pediatric Neuropsychologist

We provide a unique 30-day mental health evaluation and aftercare strategy program for male and female children ages 6 to 17. The patient population reflects a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders in the context of primary psychosocial concerns often involving substantial adverse childhood experience.  The associated learning, behavioral, and psychological complications are a significant component of daily evaluation and consultation.

The predominant position responsibilities include conducting neuropsychological evaluations and preparing neuropsychological reports.  There is often daily consultation within our team that includes neuropsychologists, a psychometrician, a pediatrician, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, case managers, therapists, special education staff, patients, and patient families. In addition to this multidisciplinary communication and collaboration, a weekly meeting of all teams involves in-depth case discussion of each resident/patient. Research opportunities are emerging and can be matched to applicant interest.

This pleasant, casual work setting is located in Northwestern Wisconsin in close proximity to state and national forests, the shores of Lake Superior, and the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway.  Outdoor recreation is available for all seasons. Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area is nearby as well. Numerous cultural and recreational opportunities offer a high quality of life.

The position offers a competitive benefits package including signing bonus, relocation, liability insurance, life insurance, healthcare, PTO, funding for professional development and continuing education, potential student loan reimbursement, and 401k retirement contribution.


  • Completes all required documentation in an accurate and timely manner
  • Understands and follows agency policies
  • Licensed to practice in the state of Wisconsin and qualify for reimbursement by Wisconsin MA and third party or should be eligible for Wisconsin licensure.
  • Doctoral degree from an APA-accredited program in clinical psychology
  • Completion of an internship with experience in pediatric neuropsychology
  • Completion of a fellowship with experience in pediatric neuropsychology
  • Signing Bonus
  • Relocation
  • Liability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Healthcare
  • Paid time off and paid holidays
  • Funding for professional development and continuing education
  • Possible student loan reimbursement
  • 401k retirement contribution

Seizing the Light


The light dances off the surface of the crystalline surface.

Light penetrates the recesses of the hollow spots.

The hidden bright spots can be found in surprising spots if the light is right.

This is Seizing the Light.

We hosted an artist reception to celebrate the opening of Seizing the Light, a new exhibit featuring the work of our Prairieview kids. Molly, their artistic director, who infuses art therapy into her work with the kids, “This show captured the beauty of the way the light dances on the blank canvases of snow, the warm neutral tones of the winter brush, and the sparkle of the ice crystals.”

You can see the full show at the In a New Light Gallery located at 7417 N Bass Lake Road in Webster, Wisconsin. Our gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., stop by anytime!

Excerpts from the latest show:

“Thoughts” by Candus, 15

“Cold and frozen, brittle and broken, lost yet found, beautiful they say but self-conscious deep down inside, hidden but right in the center, hurt but smiling because I’m still trying …”

“What’s on the Inside” by Malia, 16

“No one in this world will ever be able to figure out what one person is like unless they put in the time and effort to get to know them. People are absolutely incredible and completely one-of-a-kind.”

“Angel” by Sidney, 16

“Haze” by Beaux, 13

“If you want to know who you are, you have to look at your real self and acknowledge what you see”-Itachi Uchiha

“Neglect” by Anonymous, 15

“Neglect. Broken, hurt. Crying, suffering, damaging. Dad, beer, contact, love. Laughing, hugging, smiling. Fulfilled, joy. Attention.”

“Fear Has No Power Over You” by Jazzlyn, 16

“Fear is an emotion, it can’t hurt you, touch you, or hold power over you. You’re in control of your emotion, especially your fears.”



Northwest Passage’s Prairieview program, serving young women aged 12-17, has formed a basketball team – the Passage Pioneers. The team will be a continuation of Passage’s commitment to fostering a therapeutic lifestyle for our kids by hitting on three of the eight elements of a healthy lifestyle: exercise, recreation, and relationships. The coach, Taylor Mathias, proposed the idea because he wanted to give the girls an opportunity that most other residential treatment facilities aren’t able to offer. He also wanted to give them the chance to be part of a team. Coach Taylor says, “Playing on a basketball team is a powerful way to form bonds. The connection you share with your teammates goes a long way in developing trust and relationship skills.” Teammate Jay agrees, “My favorite part about being on the team is being able to work with new people and build up relationships.”

The Pioneers began their inaugural basketball season with early morning practices last week. Coach Taylor says of the 6:45 am practices, “the girls are very tired at the start of practice but it is a great way for them to start the day. The physical activity allows them to focus outwardly on what they’re doing and to get out of their heads for a bit. It has been incredibly powerful already.”

They are looking forward to getting out into the community to take on local public schools in the area this basketball season. The teammates all share similar feelings of nervousness and excitement for the upcoming games. One teammate comments, “I feel confident and a little nervous, but I’m prepared. I just want to have fun and I want to see my teammates happy and proud of themselves too.”

The girls are very grateful for the opportunity to be the first basketball team for Northwest Passage. Teammate Jordyn explains, “Being on the first ever team at NWP means something powerful. Calling myself a pioneer makes me confident.” Teammate Malia agrees, “It’s a very proud feeling. I suppose you could say it’s kind of like making history.”

Northwest Passage is blazing the trail in the mental health field and now on the basketball court too. How fitting to call these girls “Pioneers”.

Game Date     Game Time                 Opponent                               Location

12/4/2017       4:15 PM                       Frederic JV                              Frederic HS

12/5/2017       5:45 PM                       Webster JV                              Webster HS

1/13/2018       11 AM, 12 PM             Arcadia, Mondovi C-Squad     Mondovi HS

1/18/2018       4:30 PM                       St. Croix Falls C-Squad                        SCF HS

1/30/2018       4:30 PM                       St. Croix Falls C-Squad                        SCF HS


All the Boos Without the Booze: How to Have a Haunting Halloween in Sobriety

Article Submitted by guest author Caleb Anderson of Recovery Hope
Photo Credit: hzv_westfalen_de, Pixabay

While celebrating Halloween may have previously entailed dressing up in a costume, heading to a party, and drinking alcohol or using substances, now that you’re in sobriety, that’s obviously not a party you want or need to attend. Luckily, there are plenty of more low-key and sober options that are fun or scary, and some are a little bit of both. From themed parties to scary movie marathons, you’re sure to find a way to have a haunting Halloween in sobriety.

Throw a Themed Party

Hosting your own sober Halloween party is a great way to celebrate the holiday without the presence of substances. Make the party a themed celebration to take the festivities up a few notches. The decorations, food, beverages, and costumes can be centered on the theme. For example, you can host a Harry Potter-themed party, complete with a Sorting Hat game and Golden Snitch cake pops. Ask guests to dress like their favorite houses or characters.

A Nancy Drew Mystery Party and a Clue-themed party are also great ideas. Either option sets up the opportunity to have guests solve mysteries during the get-together. For Clue, guests can wear colors of their favorite characters, and a Nancy Drew can feature magnifying glass cookies and campy detective decor. Other themes can be The Nightmare Before Christmas, a mad scientist’s lab, or a haunted house.

Host A Pumpkin Carving Party

Carving pumpkins is one of the most popular Halloween traditions, so why not host a pumpkin carving party on Halloween night? You can either provide pumpkins for everyone or ask guests to bring their own pumpkins. If you choose the latter, you should still have a few on hand in case someone forgets to bring one. The best carving pumpkins are smooth, firm, and symmetrical. You can also print out pumpkin-carving templates and patterns.

Carving outside is ideal since pumpkin carving can get messy, but if the weather doesn’t permit outdoor carving, set up a station inside. Cover the tables with newspaper, kraft paper, or a disposable tablecloth. Because pumpkin flesh and seeds can be slippery, consider covering the floors too. Serve fall-inspired food, drinks, and desserts like pumpkin-shaped cheese balls, warm apple cider, and leaf-shaped cookies.

Go to a Halloween Party

Instead of hosting your own Halloween party, you can attend a friend’s spooky bash. However, planning ahead before you go is crucial if you go this route. Bring a sober friend with you if possible, and always determine transportation arrangements beforehand. Either drive your own car or have the number of a cab company in your phone so that you can leave when you’re ready, especially if you start to feel uncomfortable.

Someone may offer you a drink without knowing you’re in sobriety, or someone may try to pressure you into using substances. Think of a script to say “no” so the person knows you’re definitive in your decision. Also, when you arrive at the party, scope out the layout so you can have a smooth exit if you need to leave.

Visit a Haunted City

This Halloween, take a trip to a city with a haunting history. Whether you live on the East Coast or the West Coast or somewhere in between, there’s bound to be a haunted city near you. Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA are two of the most popular destinations. Some hauntings in Charleston have been reported since the 1700s when pirates were hung, and Savannah is dubbed “the most frightening city and seaport in all of America” by the Travel Channel.

Boston, MA is an obvious choice because of the soldiers who perished in the Revolutionary War, but it’s also home to the first person to be persecuted as a witch. San Antonio, TX features a few haunted hotels, which have been the site of murder and disruption throughout history. You can also add St. Paul, MN; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; New Orleans, LA; Gettysburg, PA; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Portland, OR; Washington, DC; and Charlotte, NC to your list.

Of course, you shouldn’t feel bad about staying home and watching scary movies or handing candy out to trick-or-treaters. You should do whatever you feel comfortable doing that doesn’t involve using substances. As long as you make a plan and prepare for the evening, you can have a fun and frightful Halloween while staying focused on your goal of sobriety.

Therapeutic Art Program Helps Reshape Youths’ Futures

Arts bring out kids’ strengths; help them heal


Outside, the world is lushly green, it’s pouring rain, and the tune “Here Comes the Sun” floats through the room. There’s a low murmur of voices: nine girls are engaged in shaping animal figures out of clay or drawing fish figures on cardboard. Occasionally there’s laughter at a comment from the instructor’s baritone. You can feel it’s a happy place.


That’s exactly one of the outcomes Ian Karl aims for by having Chris Lutter-Gardella as Northwest Passage’s August Artist-in-Residence at the remote Schaefer Cabin located in the Namekagon River watershed. Ian is Northwest Passage’s Experiential Program Coordinator in charge of the program.


The Artist-in-Residence program is one of several NWP art programs that evolved from the organization’s 39 year history of promoting a therapeutic lifestyle for their clients. Over the last six years, art has emerged as a strong component of Northwest Passage’s mission. So much so, that one mile south of Webster on State Road 35 NWP opened the In a New Light Gallery.


Puppets, masks relate to nature


The Gallery features the kids’ art – primarily nature photography – and is open to the public. Why that name? Because through this program the clients are able to see the world around them in a new light and see themselves in a new positive light: capable and creative. That’s a fulfillment of the NWP mission: to restore hope through innovative health services for at-risk children and families.


But back to Chris and the girls at the Schaefer Cabin. During his four-week session from July 17 to August 14, thirty-two boys and girls ages 6-17 in four separate groups, came to the cabin in shifts, working on art projects, described by Chris: “We’re creating masks, puppet art pieces and props that relate to the natural world here in the northwoods and also globally that will appear in a music video called Life is Better With You.”


The content is consistent with each group. There are three projects: making masks with clay and paper mache, building insect puppets, and creating fish figures In addition to the educational connection with nature, Chris demonstrates conservation and environmental responsibility by using primarily repurposed and recycled industrial materials.


He explains: “For the bumblebees, which was our kick-off/warm-up project with the boys the first week, we used plastic bottles that I got from a bottling company down by Stillwater. Wire clothes hangers we used for handles and legs; plastics from mattress bags we repurposed into bee wings.





“For the fish, we’re using recycled cardboard boxes; we’ll put scales on them made out of heavier plastic packaging from the furniture industry. The clay forms are mostly recycled clay from the ceramics industry – clay that can’t be fired that typically ends up being dumpster-ed. Newspapers and paper bags we use for the paper mache, with burlap for the fringes around the masks.”


Chris connects the projects to cosmology – the nature of the universe: “The bumblebees are our connection with the air. We call them the ‘Keepers of the Air.’ The animals we’re making like the bear, the cougar and other creatures we consider ‘Keepers of the Land,’ and the fish are the ‘Keepers of the Water.’ That encourages the kids to think in terms of elements and different realms the animals help take care of.”


Some of the girls worked in pairs to create masks of various animals, real and imagined: cougar, bear, elephant, and dragon. Candice and Lorena were working on the dragon. Candice commented on the art project:I like it. I feel like it’s a way to express your feelings, and it’s a good way to cope with how you’re feeling, too, and how to interact with people. It makes me feel like I can do something that I wasn’t able to do before.”


She said she and Lorena like the reemergence of the dragon in popular culture and they wanted to bring one to life. Candice added, “It also represents fire, and I feel like no one else has fire as an animal, so, we’re like, ‘let’s do a dragon.’”


Attitudes turn around


Chris has worked with youth in the past. He observed, “The girls are just loving it. They’re really getting into sculpting the clay forms for the masks. They seem really invested and dedicated, excited about their pieces. When the art projects are completed, Chris explains, “We’ll take the kids outside and do some fun playing with the masks and props in the woods and along the [Namekagon] river and get some video of that.”


Cassie Bauer, a summer intern and student in Digital Media Production at Drake University is documenting and producing the video. Musician Kathryn “Kat” King is providing the accompanying music. The final film will be a rendition of Michael Frante’s Life is Better With You. It will premiere at the Taste of the Trail event at the In a New Light Gallery on September 23rd.


The residual and significantly more important outcomes are reflected in the kids’ turn-arounds of attitudes and feelings. Ian noted, “Every one of the kids involved seemed happy doing what they were doing. They were smiling, fully engaged. This sort of activity allows them to separate from their problems, they can block out other noise in the world and focus on the task at hand.”


“When we’re engaged in things we enjoy, get fulfillment from and see the results of our work, we’re happier, content and feel a sense of achievement. This fits in to the idea of taking a strength based approach to problem solving. When you help kids find their strengths and give them opportunities to thrive, the mental health challenges they’re facing have the potential to take a back seat. Being engaged in tactile art in a unique location where you can physically feel you’re leaving your troubles behind is really powerful and beneficial.”


He continued, “If we consistently focus on the kids’ problems, the mental health challenges and the diagnoses, then all the energy goes into focusing on that. But if we can help them find their strengths and what they have to offer others, they are happier, more content and work better together as a group. And that’s exactly what we see going on at the cabin. When you go to a unique place like [Schaefer Cabin] and are guided by a professional artist with the constant, calm, consistency and experience that Chris provides – that is priceless.”                               



In a New Voice Program

Recently, Northwest Passage has been expanding their creative programs into an experimental writing project called, In a New Voice. The program is highly poetry based but also includes creative non-fiction like a personal essays, journal entries or short stories. Before the residents begin their reflections, they go out in nature and do various activities like hike, canoe, examine rocks, trees, plants and animals. This serves as a way to spark inspiration for their poetry.
Using the material they created from their reflections, they begin to transform those poems into “motion poetry.” Motion Poetry is where the kids pair their poems with images and possibly music in a video format. The residents have been involved with the entire process from the writing, storyboarding, editing and shot selection.
Soon the the program hopes to incorporate a spoken-word component with the residents performing a piece or to in a live reading setting!

I’m here to share my secret.

Be quiet and you shall see.

All the things floating around me will fill your heart with glee.

It will take your breath away and drop your jaw so low, for…

I’ve travelled from here to there and brought back an amazing glow.

You think you know me oh so well

But you’re only at the start.

I’ve travelled past the comets and been burned by the hearts of stars.

I’ve travelled to the planets and seen their awful scars

I’ve made my way through supernovas and been spat out just as hard.

I’ve seen so many planets with mountains high and chasms deep

Galaxies so beautiful they make a giant weep.

I’m the one to wake the planets and send the moon to sleep.

I’ve seen the sun’s great power, with an attitude so rare;

Don’t underestimate the sun for she might give you her ugly glare.

Be careful where you travel, don’t go so far.

Make sure to be safe and always remember who you are.

Don’t tell me that you know me.

That, “right here is what you are.”

I am the universe in motion.

I was born by the stars.


Ancient Traveler


Calm, Windy

Chirping, Swimming, Fishing

Trees, Grass, Park, McDonalds

Walking, Laughing, Crying

Noisy, Crowded


5 senses


Inspiration by: “I am a Tree” Laleta Davis-Mattis


I am an owl

A wise, wise owl

I am constantly on the prowl

I search up high

I search down low

There are many places that I can go

I see the mice running around

So that I can swoop them off the ground

Then take them to my nest up high

Which is up, up, up in the sky


I am an owl

A wise, wise owl

I am constantly on the prowl

I think about how the human race

Could possibly get me misplaced

How the destruction of trees

Is as far as I can see

And I ponder if they get my nest

Will I then call those humans pests

For the rest of eternity.


I Am An Owl

Check out more In a New Voice videos here!

New Resources Refresh the Equine Therapy Program

Thanks to our clinical director Angela Frederickson, we have been able to provide Equine Therapy to our Northwest Passage kids for the past eight years. It has been an excellent experience for many of our kids and we are so happy to announce that our program is not only flourishing but it is also growing!

Passage is bringing back horses to the Gallery grounds on Fridays for the Riverside boys. Horses will also now be available at the Prairieview and Assessment facilities. Plus we have added another EAGALA certified clinician at Riverside who can facilitate the Riverside programming at the Gallery.

EAGALA stands for Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. According to, EAGALA is the leading international nonprofit association for professionals incorporating horses to address mental health and personal development needs. Incorporating horses into our kid’s treatment plans is a refreshing way that they can become more introspective.

Equine therapy can be a great tool used by our residents. Associate editor at Psych Central, Margarita Tartakovsky M.S. explains, “Because horses can sense a person’s feelings and respond accordingly, they can serve as a mirror that the person can use to see and understand feelings they may not be aware of.”

Assessment-Horse-Therapy-20170607 (16)

The EAGALA website states, “To evade predators, horses have evolved to be extremely sensitive to their environment. They instinctively analyze and react to our body language and other nonverbal cues. As a result, we are able to gain insight into our own nonverbal communication and behavior patterns. The EAGALA Model invites clients into an arena for ground-based interaction with horses to facilitate the therapeutic process. These horses become the focal point in client-driven discovery and analysis.”

Our newest EAGALA clinican, Kayla said, “I grew up riding horses in northwest Wisconsin with my family. One of the horses I am bringing to Passage has been with me since I was 12 years old and he has not only taught me how to ride, but also taught me how horses can impact people from the ground.”

The EAGALA model is based on off all groundwork; at no point does a client ever mount or ride a horse. By just being in the arena with the horses our clients can experience comfort, support and sometimes even a challenge. At that point, the horses become a part of the treatment team because they are apart of the recovery process and what happens in the arena. As part of the EAGALA model the animal is represented as a professional partner.

Assessment-Horse-Therapy-20170607 (10)

EAGALA has more of a mental health focus compared to other horse therapy programs and is all about giving the kids a place to be themselves and to experience their issues in the moment. It requires a lot of trusting in the horses to take care of the session and to be able to sense what is needed in that moment.

Horses require relationships to be built in order to trust. They require relationship repair the same as any person would after damage has been made, but they don’t pre-judge the way that people tend to. The horses do not get a rundown of the client’s mental health history or any background information.

Tartakovsky continues to explain the opportunities for cultivating healthy relationships; “Horses offer the person a non-judging relationship, which can help a person struggling with the negative relationship consequences from his mental illness to rebuild his confidence without fear of criticism.”
During our equine sessions, the horses are set loose and are free to roam around the arena so that they are able to be themselves. They each have their own personalities and mannerisms. It is entirely up to the residents to interpret the feedback that the horses give. The clinicians who facilitate these sessions are strictly there to provide emotional and physical safety if need be.

EAGALA is about trusting the herd. Due to this being such an experiential model, it is important that the horses names, genders, and ages are not identified to the clients so that they can utilize them as they see necessary in the moment.

Overall, Northwest Passage is excited to be exploring another innovative therapeutic method so the work can continue to expand on our diverse, yet effective paths of healing. By taking to these new techniques, it is just one more way Passage stands out from other residential treatment facilities. Northwest Passage continues to look forward to seeing all the progress our kids will make due to equine therapy!

Where I’m From…


I am from old blankets,

from Animal Planet

and Walmart clothes.

I am from the dandelions

In my yard.

The maple out my window

That woke me up at night.

I am fireworks and fights,

From my mother Sara,

my father Sean

and the Madays.

I am from the cigarettes

In my room,

And the dirty dishes in the sink.

I’m from “I love you” and

“I want nothing to do with you.”

I am from the great creator.

I’m from Ashland, ramen noodles and soda.

From the father with a gun

And the hate in his words.

And the love from my mother.

I am from the black chest in the basement

Filled with miscellaneous

Items from my past.

I am from those moments

in my pasts that haunt me

but at the same time I cherish.


I am from music

From The Beatles to Nirvana.

I am from the cat infested farm

Filled with childhood memories

Once beautiful, once ours.

I am from the crabapple tree

The lavender bushes

Whose scent surrounded me on the day of my birth.

I am from PlayStation and addictions

From Whitebird and Merrill and Johnson.

I am from law breakers and runaways

From “It’s all your fault” to “You’re safe now”

I am from spirituality

But that’s where it ends.

I am from St. Croix Falls and Ashland

Wild rice and fry-bread

From the death threats from love ones

Forever cut into my thoughts

The dishonor

And the long line of my mother’s lovers.

I am from the question of my worth

The proof of my youth lost

Between the paranoid relocations

The pictures worth nothing now.

I am from these moments

Which make me who I am today.

I will rise up again

From ashes to dust

In adolescent resilience.


I am from dark chocolate

From the cacao seed and dove.

I am from the wood on the garage floor

It’s sharp, rough and it smells so fresh.

I am from the rose bush the sweet aroma in the air

the thorns that protect me

from the fears and dangers that could harm me.

I am from Hispanic food and love

From Jonathan and Kelly.

I am from the risk takers

and the loving parents

from starting a new leaf and

I am from no religion.

I am from Antigua in Guatemala and Ireland

blueberry pancakes and enchiladas

From the daddy daughter dance

my dad told my sister to wear a dress

from the embarrassment my sister had.

I am from the family picture books

at my grandparents house

remembering my memories and adventures

This is who I am


I am from jeans, from Levi’s and Lei.

I am from the paint, its wet all over the walls

It starts to smell like burnt wood.

I am from the roses, the daisies.

I am from Christmas, and the happiness

From Jessica to bobby all the way to Wesley.

I am from the cooking and baking we do.

From “Stop moving” to the “Drink your milk” they all say.

From believing is the science of evolving from other animals.

I am from America where the steak and the chicken that we are known for.

From the finger my uncle almost cut off by trying to skin his deer,

From the cat that is turning 144 in cat years,

And the fingers my little brother broke in a car door.

I’m from the walls in the house I live in.

I am from the short moments when a new mother sees her child for the first time.


I am from the bullets of a Smith & Wesson pistol- BANG! BANG!

Where did she go, who did she hit?

I am from the violent hoods and the silent homes with they who hide,

I am from the fire that intensifies, bringing light to their eyes,

I am from hustlers and fighters, from these gashes that heals infinitely they are the survivors who made me.

We are broken yet no one can demise us.

I am from the Gales to the York’s ultimately I’m Gale and Mouth, I’m the seed they planted from the soil of purest grime, and I will rise into the grand Oak.

I am from wisdom and rebellion, wasn’t born into failure, we grow into supreme intelligence. They scream to me “give them mercy, for who else will”

I am from my mother’s words “Don’t be careless, be kind to them”

I am from my father’s sharp words “You gotta hustle”

Watch me tend from the dirt and sweat, my ancestors bleed. I am from the cotton fields and rice lakes my ancestors slaved to receive grace.

We will never forget our world before the pain, ashes of the peace stained into my DNA.

I am from Yahweh, Who gives me strength to rise up and be praised. I am from the voice he gave to me.

I am from the Matthew prayer engraved into my brain:

Our Father who art in Heaven. Holy is his name, thy is his kingdom come, they shall be judged on earth and blessed in heaven, give us this day our daily faith and forgive our debts & forgive me, as we have forgiven our debtors and lead me not into temptation but deliver me from my evil within, for I forgive man and their trespasses Yahweh my father will you bless my mistakes?

I am from the never ending mountains of his grace.

I am from the soul of Africa and from the gold of Cambodia.

I am from morning bah-baul and my great grandmother’s famous heart baked biscuits. I could never leave you tasteless.

I am from the misadventures of Aeng’s WWE training, to emotional draining, remember the rolling and tumbling in the dryer, bruises and cuts forever staining, but look at me I made it!

I am from the photo of the girl in a traditional sari trying to please.

I am from the the picture of a mother in peace with her ‘big baby’ saying cheese.

I am from those moments with the s



I am from dirty socks, from Grape Kool-Aid and Urine Remover.

I am from the broken screen door, rusted over and shattered feels like nails on a chalk board.

I am from the rose, the cactus who uses their spiky ends to protect their inner self.

I am from cutting my hair every time a family member dies and violence, from Pops, Nana and Mother.

I am from the hotheads and goofies.

From “Kids being made by watermelon seeds” and “I brought you into this world I can take you out.”

I am from the Great Spirit and not talking much about religion.

I was born in Minneapolis\\St. Paul but I am from The White Earth Reservation, cabbage and noodles and fried bread.

From the story of my dad was a no good druggie, the hardworking man he was most of the time and my brother who reminds me of my dad at times.

I am from inside the family cabinet, my grandma’s old moccasins and dream catchers, believing in the power to protect me from bad dreams and spirits and reminding me of my Native Heritage.


I am from music boxes

From Netflix and bacon strips

I am from the creak of the old wooden door

I am from the dust of dandelions

Sprinkled in the backyard

I am from pot roast and 50’s music

From Khulan and Voglands

I’m from the prideful hearts and the hand-me-downs

From “Cheer up, buttercup” and “Life will get better”

I’m from the hymns of “Amazing Grace”

To the many verses I’ve memorized

And the old tattered Bible on my mother’s chair

I’m from Mongolia and the sleek backs of the wild horses

Mashed potatoes and fried chicken

From crazy Grandma Jan who has little too much to drink

The hearing aid my father used

Because he was slowly going deaf

I am from the photo I found in a gold locket

The class ring my mother bought

White snowy landscape on a sparkling Christmas night

I am from those moments

Good and bad

The ones who have shaped me into who I am

Preparing me to spread my wings and fly


We believe that our kids have stories worth listening to.

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