Unitas is an outreach therapeutic program serving Hispanic and African American children in the South Bronx. It is a complex institutional structure based upon philosophical, psychological, and sociological views of how interpersonal relations can be shaped in the interest of a child's healthy social and emotional life. To acheive what Unitas calls the healing of the child's brokeness,the program has created a network of symbolic families composed of children and teenagers living in the same neighborhoods. The teenagers play the roles of symbolic and surrogate parents and become the caretakers and, indeed, therapists of the younger children. The use of these fictive nuclear and extended families provides institutional meaning to the Unitas pattern of mutual help. This volume is a look inside the program by its principal participant, Dr. Edward Eismann. Eismann, founder and director of Unitas, provides the reader with a rich, first-hand account of how he went about mobilizing the youth who would later become the core of his successful program. He also offers some of the ideas in the social sciences and therepeutic literature which influenced the shaping of Unitas.
Unitas also includes a series of training modules for persons interested in replicating this type of social program.
Publisher: Fordham University Press