Rotarian Tom Schwolert, Director of Spiritual Care at Roots Renewal Ranch, last week proudly introduced his daughter, Zoe, as the featured speaker. She gave a detailed overview of the many struggles teens face today and how the nonprofit adolescent treatment center run by the Schwolert family helps adolescent girls break free from shame and self-destructive behaviors to build a healthy and purposeful life.
 
“I do all the marketing and outreach for Roots Renewal Ranch,” said Zoe Schwolert, explaining that the nonprofit helps young women demonstrating harmful behaviors, from cutting and suicidation to risky sexual behavior and substance abuse.
 
The 90-day dual diagnosis residential treatment program is based in Argyle and overseen by CEO Michelle Schwolert and a staff of nearly 20 people, including several experienced mental health professionals. The Schwolerts decided to open the treatment center in honor of a family member who died of a drug overdose in 2020 at age 33.
 
Roots is one of only 23 providers in the state for adolescents, compared to more than 300 centers for adults, noted Zoe Schwolert during her presentation. Texas is also ranked 50th out of all 50 states for teen access to mental health care. Yet 15 percent of youth aged 10-24 account for all suicides, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. Moreover, 30 percent of teen girls participate in self harm, data shows, and 20 percent of teens have experienced bullying, Schwolert shared.
 
These behaviors are symptoms of deeply rooted problems, such as abuse and neglect in the home, Schwolert said, and are attempts to mitigate extreme emotional pain. To address this pain, the staff and volunteers at Roots Renewal Ranch implement evidence-based therapies and programs in a safe, loving and nurturing environment.
 
In addition, residents learn sober living and life skills, including participating in fun activities, from swimming and talent shows to instruction in how to cook with a Dutch oven. “A crucial piece to recovery is empowering them to see they have it inside of them” to succeed, Schwolert said. The girls also learn that their past struggles do not define their identity.
 
“My challenge to you is to be that example for our community of what it means to take care of ourselves and our mental health,” said Schwolert in closing. “The more they see that representation, the more they see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she added. To learn more about the nonprofit or make a donation, visit rootsrenewalranch.org.