Innovative agency helps kids get 'Back on Track'

| 18 Nov 2013 | 12:29

Jenny C. was at her whit's end. Her 11-year-old son didn't want to go to school, was unmotivated and nothing the Blairstown family did seemed to help him. Then Jenny C. heard about The Back on Track Agency, and they decided to give it a try. A few months later, her son was going to school. He discovered sports as a positive outlet and his attitude took a 180 degree turn for the better. He's in high school now and still motivated and doing well.

Serving Sussex, Morris and Warren counties, Back on Track has been counseling, guiding and motivating kids undergoing a host of varying adversities or challenges in their lives in the context of fitness for the past 10 years.

"It's all about kids realizing their full potential," said owner/founder Guy Gordon. "They need to be motivated and guided to act outside their current comfort zone, and that's the goal for each of the kids we work with."

Back on Track works with kids/teens going through varying sorts of challenges, and a personalized program is developed for each client. Clients include developmentally delayed children, kids with mental health issues and troubled teens who act out or who are experiencing self-confidence issues.

As a long-time employee of The Division of Youth and Family Services, Gordon combines his three decades of social work experience with his unique motivation, rapport building skills, crisis intervention background and personal training experience. To date, he and his agency have helped hundreds of kids and teens change their lives for the better.

Gordon and his wife, Laurie, are both formerly nationally ranked marathon runners. Over the many years volunteering to coach kids with running, they saw how positively the kids responded to exercise as both a physical and mental outlet. This spawned the idea for an agency that counseled kids in the context of physical fitness, guidance and motivation.

"The agency provides the kids and their families with clarity and strategies for dealing with whatever adversity they are facing and engages them to develop a comprehensive plan of action and goal setting," Gordon said.

Social work veteran Jim Valentine of Oak Ridge, said, "The population that Gordon is working with has never experienced this combination of tools that he brings to the table. Conventional therapy is where most troubled teens end up. This is different and the agency's track record shows it to be extremely effective."

"It's a matter of getting to know the kid and then working with him or her to make better choices and find an outlet — such as a sport or activity ‑ in which they can become involved," Gordon said.

Back on Track takes special care to match each client with an employee of the agency that will be best suited for that individual. Employees go through an intense screening and training procedure and include both males and females with an array of varying specialties. Back on Track's programs are also sensitive to people's cultural and contextual differences.

One of Back on Track's specialty areas is diabetic and pre-diabetic guidance and counseling. Gordon, who learned last year that he was a Type I Diabetic, has turned this adversity into a positive to help kids going through the same thing. The agency receives state referrals and also takes private clients. Back on Track also offers a sliding scale depending on the client's financial status and is always looking for foundations to assist with payment for families in need. As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, Back on Track has effectively helped kids enhance their self-image while assisting them in making better decisions and choices as well as positive lifestyle changes.

"There are no words to describe the miracle that Back on Track has given to our son and our family," Jenny C. said. "After years of watching him struggle and feel tortured with an inner pain that no doctor or medication could alleviate we are blessed to say he has found happiness in himself. The son we have now is like a different child… motivated and happy. This Christmas — and from now on — that will be the greatest gift we have ever known."

For further information, e-mail or call 973-362-8006.