(Left to right) Residents Christian, Maki, Anthony and Joseph, along with staff members Irene Walker and Matthew Dietrich, display Halloween decorations at the Morrell Group Home in Bensalem. Part of archdiocesan Catholic Social Services, the facility provides a wide range of services to at-risk youth. (Photo by Matthew Dietrich)

When it comes to team-building, yards of fake spider web can bring a group together.

That was the case last week at the Louise Drexel Morrell Group Home in Bensalem, where residents collaborated on tricking out their cottage in time for Halloween.

One of five group residences at the St. Francis-St. Joseph Homes for Children, Morrell houses 12 teens adjudicated to the home by the Philadelphia juvenile court system. Archdiocesan Catholic Social Services (CSS) oversees the St. Francis-St. Joseph Homes as part of its continuum of care for at-risk youth.

Morrell House, one of five archdiocesan group residences for at-risk youth, is ready for Halloween thanks to residents and staff. (Photo by Matthew Dietrich.)

Morrell’s staff works to engage residents with recreational activities, life skills, mentoring and personal development – all of which factored into the decoration project, according to Morrell’s residential group manager, Matthew Dietrich.

Frankensteins, skeletons, mummy bandages and, yes, yards of that fake spider web now cover the exterior of the house.

Halloween decorations greet visitors at Morrell House, an archdiocesan home for at-risk youth. (Matthew Dietrich)

“Engagement between staff and residents is crucial, and it’s important to have the residents participate in activities that they would have if they were home,” he said. “It also helps them feel a sense of being at home, and not in a residential facility.”

Clinical therapist Tiffany Fusco was delighted to see the group put theory into practice, even if it did result in a few bats and goblins here and there.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the positive peer interactions and the team building skills they demonstrated,” she said. “The kids expressed their creativity and worked together to make Morrell feel more like home.”

Morrell residents Quidiar and Anthony were satisfied with the results – particularly the enhanced sense of community among the residents.

“I just feel like I’m not in placement when we do things together,” said Quidiar.

Anthony added that although the Morrell teens may not be at their original homes, “you still have family all around you here.”

(Left to right) Residents Maki, Joseph and Tarik, along with house manager Irene Walker, took a break from decorating the Morrell Group Home for Halloween. Part of archdiocesan Catholic Social Services, the home supports at-risk youth through a wide range of services. (Matthew Dietrich)