Independent Living Program Summary
The Independent Living Program is a service offered at Huron House Boys’ Home for transitional age youth. Boys between of 16 and 18 years of age will live in the upstairs apartment complex at the Boys’ Home. The apartment complex has a full kitchen to prepare meals, a living room, den, laundry facilities, computer access and five private bedrooms, some with ensuite bathrooms.
The Program is geared to boys who have a need to prepare themselves for independent living by learning a variety of skills that will help ensure a successful transition.
The Program is supported by Huron House Boys’ Home staff, who assist boys in all aspects of acquiring the skills necessary to live on their own.
Youth apply for admission to the Independent Living Program via the ILP application, with help from and signed by their primary worker.
Criteria for Participating in Independent Living Program
- Youth is between 16 and 18 years of age (some 15 year olds will be considered)
- Youth’s plan of care has identified learning independent living skills as a significant goal
- Youth is attending and participating in school, with few to no behaviour problems
- Youth is passing subjects in school
- Youth participates in all group activities of the Independent Living Program
- Youth participates in all activities of the standard Huron House Boys’ Home programs when time permits (i.e. sports, community jobs, chores, cutting grass)
- Youth is expected to save a portion of any earned money to be used toward the cost of living independently after being discharged from our care
- Youth will move downstairs (but continue to be in the Independent Living Program) if his behaviour is dangerous to himself or others (i.e. smoking, fighting, bullying etc.); other inappropriate behaviour will be managed upstairs
- Youth attends counselling, medical, dental appointments etc. as scheduled
Scope of Independent Living Program
- The Independent Living Program is staffed Monday through Thursday (4 days a week) from approximately 3 pm to 10 pm (28 hours per week).
- Usually a youth in the Independent Living Program lives in the upstairs apartment, however he may be living downstairs and still be involved in the program especially if there is insufficient space upstairs; and a youth living upstairs will not be moved downstairs simply because he is not involved in the Independent Living Program.
- Youth are involved in sessions for learning the life skills needed to live successfully on their own
- Staff access experts from the community to assist with specific topics (i.e. writing resumes, setting budgets, financial management etc.) to ensure youth receive accurate, current information in an expedient fashion.
- When not involved in Independent Living Program activities, youth participate in other Huron House Boys’ Home programs and activities.
Independent Living Program Details
Food and Meal Preparation
- Youth and staff will make a grocery list (according to Canada’s Food Guide) each week. Huron House Boys’ Home will provide an appropriate amount of money to purchase food. Groceries needed for the Independent Living Program will be purchased at a local store.
- Staff and youth will prepare dinner meals for everyone involved in the Independent Living Program. This will help youth learn how to prepare food for more than one person.
- Each youth will develop his own recipe book which can be used as a reference when he leaves our care.
- Each youth, with help from staff, will set an individual budget reflecting the income and expenses he can expect when living on his own. Based on this budget he will learn how to purchase items, pay bills and stay within his projected budget.
- Youth engaged in school or community activities/employment are expected to participate in those activities. Staff will help youth develop a schedule to accommodate Independent Living Program activities. (i.e. basketball practice may interfere with him preparing dinner on certain nights.)
- Completion of homework is a youth’s first priority. When it is complete he can participate in program sessions focusing on life, social and independent skills.
- Youth can and should participate in Huron House Boys’ Home sports and activities if/when time permits.
- Bedtime for youth living upstairs is 11 pm.
Staff prepare individualized lesson plans for each skill set being taught. Each lesson plan identifies the goal for the session, the tools/equipment needed, what will be taught, and the name of a contact person if a community expert is coming to teach a skill set. Lesson objectives include:
- Financial management and setting a budget, leaving room for savings
- Importance of having a good credit rating
- Exploring all financial options, expenses
- Setting menus (Canada’s Food Guide)
- Making good choices when buying food – what to look for, how to determine best buy for your money etc.
- Making difficult choices when buying food
- Following recipes – how to change quantities in recipes to match number of people eating
- Developing a resume – structure, format, order of importance to highlight.
- Writing a cover letter for your resume – what needs to be included, highlighting important aspects that tie into the want-ad or reason for applying
- Finding a job and how to keep your name in the foreground when dozens of people have applied
- Preparing for the interview – what to wear, rehearsing answers to questions that might be asked, learning the soft skills of socializing and communicating with people in the work force
- Balancing work, school and personal interests
- Managing conflict in the workplace
- Finding an apartment (location, access to services etc)
- Household chores
- Finding various services in the community.
- Getting to those services (transit, car, bicycle)
- Having a roommate – the good, the bad and the ugly
- Time management – school, friends, parties, work
- Dealing with stress and loneliness
- Medical, dental, support services
- Impulse control
- Anger management – dealing with stress, frustration
- Problem solving
- Others areas as a need becomes evident