Back in 1998, Chrysalis began with a class of eight teenage girls, founder and co-director Kenny Pannell said.
Pannell has a background in community mental health. Sensing a great need, he decided to start the school as an alternative to publicly funded therapeutic care.
"The impetus was to create a level of care that truly took care of kids in a more developed way," Pannell said.
Chrysalis School Eureka Montana continued to grow over time as more families took advantage of the therapeutic boarding school. After a couple of years, the program expanded to 10 girls, and over time Chrysalis has grown to a capacity of 36 girls ages 13-18.
Students at Chryalis face challenges such as different kinds of trauma, learning challenges, depression and/or anxiety, adoption issues, eating/body image issues or a sense of entitlement.
Staff at Chrysalis includes the co-directors, teachers, case managers, clinicians, house parents, program staff, adventure staff and business administrative staff. Each student undergoes an individualized program geared to help them progress academically, emotionally and socially at their own rate -- building their self-esteem while helping them learn to build healthy relationships.
Located just a handful of miles from the Canadian border, Chrysalis sits on 65 acres between Koocanusa Reservoir and Carpenter Lake. The therapeutic boarding school is provisionally licensed and registered with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry as a Private Alternative Adolescent Residential Program. Chrysalis is also accredited by the National Independent Private Schools Association.
A student's length of stay at Chrysalis Eureka Montana depends upon their individual needs (typically between 18 and 24 months). Most Chrysalis graduates adopt health lifestyles and go on to college.