That is what family is about: Lessons from the Women’s House

Background:

Here at Brightstone Transitions we pride ourselves on our individual approach. We ask every new client and ourselves; how can we design a plan to each young women or young man best needs? Throughout our three years, there have been several occasions when our creativity and flexibility have been tested. Each time we learn something new and hopefully gain insightful. We are client driven, we look to capitalize on our young adults strengths while skill building in areas where they need more growth We utilize a Community Integration Model which means that our clients are learning to access their services through the communities that they live in, this is so helpful to our clients in their quest for independence, but can create havoc for mentors as far as logistics. Ensuring that every client has an individualized program that is based on their needs while meeting the needs of everyone else is challenging.

CWC groupThis brings us to the great lesson we were taught last week. College is starting for our young women and men, so things have been very hectic at both program houses. All of our clients are currently in school or working, and the majority of our clients are doing both. While trying to plan for; a college orientation, work, GED, volunteering, and trying to help one of our young adults get into school at the last second, three mentors, a program director and myself were really struggling to find the best fit for everyone’s schedule. When sitting down with the clients and staff to go over what the next day would look like (sidenote: we encourage them to set up their own schedules) they looked at us and said we already have it planned, here is what we need and here is when we need you, then they proceeded to tell us where they needed each one of us. I looked to our program director and smiled, then said “OK.”

rafting

I like things to go perfect and often worry when there might be a snag. As I was outside talking with a mentor, a client came
up and said, “Jason, I thought we were supposed to plan our day? We got this handled, you guys worry too much, we’re a family, we got this.” Then they patted me on the back and laughed. Our days and weeks are filled with ups and downs, we are luckily enough to have a lot more ups than downs, but I couldn’t help but to have a smile on my face for the rest of the week.

SpecialOlympics2 The Takeaway: We often try so hard to plan and make sure perfect happens for our young people, in this process we sometimes unknowingly and unintentionally leave out the most important part, the person we plan for. Our young adults know what its like to be left out of this process. They come to us to learn how to advocate and do for themselves. Our best laid plans mean nothing if the clients aren’t involved. We talk to them about how it has to be their plan. When it is most important, we have to give them trust and support to make sure it is their plan. That night around the dinner table our clients celebrated a very successful day, not one planned by mentors or staff, but by themselves. The day was not perfect and we are still trying to get one of our clients in school, but they have a plan, and most importantly they have our support, not our plan.

Learn more about what we do and who we serve at our website at Brightstone Transitions. Also follow our blog that is written by both our clients and our staff at bottom of our home page.

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