We must begin with the understanding that all of those whom we serve are considered vulnerable due in most part to the traumas they have experienced prior to arriving in our care. We must then engage in models and programs that are trauma informed, strength based, and goal oriented.

A GRACE huddle on a field trip for residents and staff. 

What is GRACE?

  • According to Merriam-Webster, grace is “divine assistance to lead us in our growth and change; the quality of being considerate or thoughtful; or a controlled, polite or pleasant way of behaving.
  • GRACE is an acronym that stands for Growth, Restoration, And Cultivating Empowerment.
  • At Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina, GRACE is our social skills development and behavioral management program for our residential services.
  • We understand that the traumas and challenges that our youth experienced have led to the development of unhealthy coping skills and unsafe behaviors.
  • The GRACE Program was created with the Sanctuary© Model as one of its bases so that our youth will be given an opportunity to learn new skills and behaviors in a safe and therapeutic environment.
  • We expect to see physical, emotional, social, educational, and spiritual Growth in a youth’s life while in this program.
  • We will help them Restore broken relationships and develop new healthy attachments.
  • Upon completing the program successfully, the youth will be Empowered to make considerate and thoughtful choices and exhibit the ability to control their behaviors.

Stages of GRACE

Safety and Belonging:The GRACE tree includes the stages of growth within the program

  • The initial stage of our program focuses on the SAFETY aspect of S.E.L.F.
  • Our youth learn what it means to be physically, psychologically, socially and morally safe.
  • They are encouraged to set appropriate boundaries while learning to develop a sense of belonging by developing safe attachments.


Growth and Wellness:
  • The next stage of our program focuses on the EMOTION MANAGEMENT aspect of S.E.L.F.
  • Our youth are taught how to demonstrate growth and wellness by learning how to effectively manage emotions and share them appropriately.


  • This stage focuses on the LOSS aspect of S.E.L.F.
  • The goal of this stage is for our youth to move from the survivor stage to the thriver stage while addressing their traumas.
  • They build confidence through learning how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.


Future and Generosity:
  • The pinnacle stage of our program focuses on the FUTURE aspect of S.E.L.F.
  • Our youth at this stage will demonstrate an orientation toward the future thinking and effective management of their life goals.
  • They are actively involved with sharing what they have learned with others through being ambassadors and community service.


GRACE Promotions
  • The GRACE program promotion process encompasses all seven commitments of the Sanctuary© Model of Care.
  • While on each stage each youth engages in Social Learning on a daily basis in an effort to gain mastery of the social skills of each stage.
  • The GRACE program was created to encourage and help our youth develop new skills and deal with behaviors in a Nonviolent way.
  • Once a youth has shown mastery of the skills of their current stage, they practice Social Responsibility during a promotion review with their Residential Counselor.
  • The next steps in the promotion process are opportunities for the youth and staff to practice Open Communication, Democracy, and Emotional Intelligence. The youth must obtain a positive vote for their promotion from their peers and the residential staff. Each person voting is expected to vote, not based on feelings, but on evidence.
  • The final step in their promotion process is for the youth to participate in the celebration of their achievement with the entire organization and share a project that demonstrates their Growth and Change and readiness to move to the next stage.