February 5, 2015
Like many other 20-somethings, Patrick is starting out on a career, hangs out with his friends at Bears and Blackhawks games, likes playing basketball and enjoys watching pro wrestling on TV.
Patrick’s also making plans to live on his own for the first time. The difference is that he has an advantage – he’s learning the ropes through Aspire’s new Life On My Own (LOMO) program. Totally unique and the first of its kind in Illinois, it’s designed to help individuals gain confidence and skills, discover their abilities and safely “test the waters” before embarking on living completely on their own. Individuals can reside temporarily in Aspire’s Teaching Home in Chicago’s Western suburbs for six months to two years, receiving intensive training and support from professional life consultants at Aspire, or they can receive teaching sessions in their own home or family home or visit the Teaching Home for weekly or monthly sessions, depending on their needs.
“We created this program to help people who were slipping through the cracks,” said Jen Burch, Associate Director of Independent Living. “Life On My Own not only helps fill this gap, but its assessments and progressive teaching customize the program to each individual. As a result, participants are able to surpass their expectations, as well as those of their families,” added April Dislers, Associate Director of Quality and Advocacy.
Gradually building in intensity, lessons in the specially designed LOMO curriculum focus on the six building blocks that Aspire believes are the core of being truly independent. They include home and community safety, personal finance, social development and transportation utilization.
Over the past three months, Patrick’s progress has been remarkable. “I love to cook and now I clean the house without anyone telling me to,” he said. He recently started leading his monthly status meetings for the first time and surprised his family by reading a handwritten, three-page synopsis of his progress, including what skills he still needed to work on.
His family was very pleased, noting that Patrick has become much more independent and is quickly learning the skills he needs to live independently. They also pointed out that Patrick is quick to tell anyone who asks that, “I don’t like the program, I love it!
“Most importantly, Patrick is learning how to ‘free-think’ – to make his own choices and realize that if something becomes difficult, he can step away and reassess his plan of action,” said Aspire Life Consultant Jillian Schneider, who has been mentoring and supporting Patrick. “We’re focused on helping him gain as much experience in the least amount of time so he can start living successfully on his own.”
Once Patrick transitions to his own home, he can continue receiving assistance from Aspire.
For more information about Life On My Own or Aspire Living, contact:
Associate Director of Life On My Own
Thank you to the Coleman Foundation for funding the launch of LOMO.
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