Celebrating Gratitude For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving at Turning Winds, Teenagers enjoying a cozy Thanksgiving meal by a stone fireplace, with a relaxed and joyful holiday atmosphere. Turning Winds, residential treatment center for teens struggling with mental health or behavioral issues.

At Turning Winds, our teenage clients typically stay many months in the program—frequently an entire year. “It can be long enough to really help young people,” says John Gordon, MD, Turning Winds’ medical director. “A lot of the kids here have been in other programs before that either were not long enough, or there was too much resistance on the adolescent’s part to make it useful.” 

A long stay in treatment means they may not be home for the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or other occasions.

Thanksgiving at Turning Winds: A Time for Gratitude and Healing

However, that does not mean those special days go unrecognized. “On Thanksgiving Day, they get to sleep in a little bit,” says program director Enoch Stump. After getting out of bed, they get to enjoy a special holiday breakfast.

“I think we’ll make some big cinnamon rolls and some muffins,” says Stump. “Throughout the day, we will play some outdoor football games, so after breakfast, they get to go outside and play some games. There will also be board games indoors, so it’ll be a fun day for the kids.”

After the workout, it’s time to dig in. “For the Thanksgiving meal, we’ll have a huge spread,” says Stump. “We’ll set the table family-style. There will be a long table where everybody can sit together and we’ll put the food out and everyone can help themselves to a great meal. So, it’ll feel like a big Thanksgiving dinner back home.”

Teens at Turning Winds playing soccer in the grounds

Celebrating Togetherness: Thanksgiving Activities for Our Teens

Every client also gets a quick video or phone call with their parents. “We don’t have parents on campus that day because we don’t want to trigger the kids that wouldn’t have parental visitors,” explains Stump. Later in the day, the kids get to enjoy leftovers and pies—the full Thanksgiving experience. 

“In the evening, we will probably watch a movie,” says Stump. “Sprinkled into the evening, our therapists will run some thankfulness groups. We hand out some cards and specifically focus on the healing power of gratitude practices.”

Thanksgiving is the ideal opportunity to focus on gratitude, a powerful therapeutic tool for everyone, but it is especially helpful and therapeutic for teens struggling with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

“Gratitude is the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life,” “In gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that all things taken together, life is good and has elements that make it worth living.”

Robert Emmons, author, Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier

The Healing Power of Gratitude in Teen Therapy

The treatment team at Turning Winds knows how challenging it is for their teenage clients to be in a treatment program away from their families for Thanksgiving, a day when many American families have special traditions they use to show gratitude and celebrate each other.

This also makes it a special opportunity in treatment to celebrate connectedness and reinforce the importance of gratitude practices and the value of family. “Even when we’re enjoying a national holiday like Thanksgiving, there is always a therapeutic, clinical value attached to everything we do,” explains Stump. 

At Turning Winds, it’s the people who make the difference—staff, and patients. We have built a team of some of the world’s finest academic, therapeutic, and medical professionals, all of whom share the same goal: to help teens re-engage meaningfully with their lives, families, and their futures.

Contact us online for more information, or call us at 800-845-1380. If your call isn’t answered personally, one of us will get back to you as soon as possible.


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John Baisden, Jr

John Baisden, Jr

John Baisden Jr is the father of seven inspiring children, and he is married to Kara, the love of his life. Together they have created a family-centered legacy by leading the way with early childhood educational advancement. John loves to write and is an author of a children’s book, An Unlikely Journey and plans to publish additional books. Show More

John is a visionary in his work and applies “outside-the-box” approaches to business practice and people development. He is the Founder of Turning Winds, along with several other organizations. He has extensive experience launching and developing organizations. His skills include strategic planning, promoting meaningful leader-member movement, organizational change, effective communication, project management, financial oversight and analysis, digital marketing and content creation, and implementing innovative ideas through influential leadership. As a leader, John seeks to empower others and brand success through collaborative work. His vision is to lead with courage, grit, truth, justice, humility, and integrity while emphasizing relational influence rather than focusing on the sheens of titles, positions, or things.

Finally, John is passionate about life and promoting equity among those who are often overlooked because of differences that frequently clash with the “norm.” He lives in Southern Idaho and loves the outdoors and the life lessons that can be learned in such an informal environment.

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