Transitioning from living at home to becoming an independent adult can be a challenging time in the lives of young adults. The Boys and Girls Country Transitional Living Program (TLP), implemented last year, is designed to equip students with the skills needed for independence and life on a college campus or a less-structured environment. During the last semester of high school, our seniors move to the TLP Cottage to master the independent living skills they will need upon graduating high school.
This January, four of our 14 seniors moved to the TLP Cottage. They were greeted with music and snacks and a group of mentors. The young adults experienced the move-in process the way it would be in the real world. They completed a move-in checklist and were required to move their possessions within a certain time frame. They signed contracts to keep them accountable for the condition of their rooms, for their behavior at the TLP and the stipulations which qualify them to “graduate” from this program.
“Last year almost every kid in the cottage held a job, completed their schoolwork and finished their TLP curriculum. That shows how successful they can be when they get to college. They don’t need anyone telling them what to do; they learn to discipline themselves,” commented College and Career Program Manager Malcolm Guerra.
The program utilizes a three-phase approach with staff support, curriculum and practical application of independent living skills. The BGC team created a special curriculum based on the Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood program (PAYA) which compiles the basic knowledge our kids need for independent living. It is intended to be finished in 90 days.
Improving communication skills is a big part of the learning process. “Texting is an important tool to stay in touch with our young adults,” shared Cassie Parkin, program mentor. “They are used to asking permission from their Teaching Parents. At TLP they have more freedom, but they are expected to communicate thoroughly and often so that the mentors are well-informed about their location, schedules and issues.”
In the next three months our seniors will be learning how to collaborate, which seems to be the hardest adjustment. Living with other young adults means coordinating chore duties, cooking and transportation. These times of learning will bring these young adults closer together and also help them discover their leadership skills. It is exciting to see them bloom despite the challenges they encounter.
By June 2018 all 14 seniors will be living in the TLP program. The best part is that they do not have to learn by themselves. They also visit their Teaching Parents for dinner, attend counselling sessions and receive educational support on our main campus. Students already in the College and Career Program visit them often. They get to know each other, share experiences and provide encouragement. The TLP program is an introduction to the college experience, and that’s what we aspire to provide.