In January 2018, the Supported Employment Transition Age Youth Program (SEP-TAY) at Arundel Lodge will celebrate one year of operation. The youth served have been making great strides as they’ve worked toward high school graduation, enrolling and completing college, and finding their career of choice. They are learning that their diagnosis does not define them nor dictate their ability to pursue their dreams and be successful.
“Daisy,” has been in the TAY Program since April 2017. She is a bright, energetic, and captivating young woman who was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder at age 20, and has utilized behavioral health services since age 12. Daisy was severely abused as a child and experienced many other traumatic events, such as a parent’s death on her birthday, being robbed at gunpoint while working at McDonald’s, and multiple evictions of her family from their home. “Daisy” also, struggles with panic attacks. “Daisy” is currently pursuing admission to Anne Arundel Community College to work towards her goal of becoming a veterinarian. She is in the process of updating her security guard license so that she can work to pay for school. “Daisy’s” most recent success has been securing her first apartment for herself and her brother. They moved into their new home on December 22nd!
“TS” was diagnosed with PTSD at age 6 after being in a car accident that killed his grandmother, who was raising him at the time. “TS” struggled in school until he dropped out at age 16. Now at age 20, he is managing his PTSD and effectively coping with symptoms of bipolar disorder. In September 2017, “TS” returned to school to earn his High School Diploma through the External Diploma Program. He plans to attend a trade school after earning his diploma and has independently started a retirement fund with earnings from his job as a stocking clerk.
These young adults have found success in obtaining employment, avoiding hospitalization, and making wise decisions about their future. “TS” and “Daisy” are on the right path to transitioning successfully into adulthood and it is important to celebrate milestones. Recently, the SEP-TAY Program completed their last event of the year with a celebration dinner at Genghis Grill and a team building challenge at the Mission Escape Room in Waugh Chapel. SEP-TAY Program youth stepped out of their comfort zone and learned to rely on each other to help solve clues and make their escape from the Alice in Wonderland and Santa’s Workshop rooms.
Currently we have 22 young adults in the SEP-TAY Program. Karon Wilson, therapist and Manager of the SEP-TAY Program reports, “In the upcoming year, we plan to do more teambuilding events, college tours, and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to learn the importance of giving back to the community.” Monthly group sessions will also include Self-Motivation Skills, Critical Conversations, and Dream Development. They will continue to discuss budgeting, coping skills, health improvement, and job hunting and keep working on interviewing skills, college preparation, and real world living.