18 Years Old, Alone and Afraid
When Andrew was 18 years old, he found himself adrift. A high school dropout, at odds with his dad, he left home with no real knowledge about how to take care of himself. “I was on the streets,” explains Andrew. “I was just lost and alone.” Andrew saw some of his friends using drugs and he knew he needed to turn his life around. A friend from high school suggested he contact the Youth Crisis Center (YCC) – they had a place called Touchstone Village on their Jacksonville campus.
What is Touchstone Village?
Touchstone Village provides transitional living services to young adults, ages 18-21, who may be homeless or in other situations that limit self-sufficiency. Each resident has a fully-furnished, efficiency-sized apartment for an income-based monthly fee. Residents also receive life skills training, career development, and academic monitoring and support. Mental health services are available as needed. The goal is to assist residents in developing skills necessary for self-sufficiency.
From the Wilderness to Wonderful
Andrew contacted YCC and successfully passed the application, interview process and orientation. Within months, he began working on the program requirements: getting his high school diploma, maintaining employment and working toward financial stability. The life skills classes taught him how to cook, clean, save money and file his taxes. “They woke me up to reality,” said Andrew. “They made me realize the world was more than being homeless.” Like most Touchstone Village residents, Andrew needed to learn how to establish personal goals and what it takes to build healthy, trusting relationships. Andrew is also rebuilding his relationship with his family, who says they are proud of him.
Building A Foundation for the Future
Some residents come to Touchstone Village because of homelessness; others need a transition from their parents’ home before living independently. “Some young adults take longer to develop life skills, are not emotionally ready, or need mental health counseling in addition to learning how to live independently,” adds Kim Sirdevan, YCC’s president and CEO. A Transition Living Specialist provides training to help residents apply for college/vocational education, connect with jobs, learn financial responsibility, and master other skills they’ll need once they leave Touchstone Village.
Andrew will head to boot camp just days before July 4, 2018 – Independence Day. Now 20 years old, he says his time at Touchstone Village gave him the chance to rethink what he wanted to accomplish. He is determined to do something positive, possibly in law enforcement, so he can help make the world a safer place – like the safety he says he found at Touchstone Village.
If you know of a young adult between the ages of 18 – 21 who is struggling to become self-reliant and independent, YCC can provide transitional living services through our Touchstone Village program. Click to learn more about Touchstone Village and the 5 Key Skills Young Adults Need to Successfully Live Independently