As young adults move to independence they need the support of a network of caring people, often families are unable to help, that’s when transition programs make a difference towards self-reliance.
Fernie Works is a transitional training and residential participation service for young adults currently attached to or recently released from Youth Justice Probation or Custody. The service includes transitional housing as required for up to one year, career training/educational placement and social/emotional counseling. In addition to enrollment in career training or school, we offer daily living programming that seeks to strengthen family perceptions and connections, increase positive community engagement, establish self-care habits, and connect youth to positive relationships for support and success. This service is holistic with a comprehensive strategy to address young adults through building skills, creating capacities, and establishing positive relationships in a safe and supportive environment.
These youth need the training and support to go out into the world to become independent. Most of all they need the support most of us likely received from our parents; a safe place to live, advice or tuition for continuing education and overall counseling to achieve a better sense of responsibility. We run a lawn and garden/property maintenance work program that’s connected to the Presbyterian Church, and we’re ready to expand its success.
This program is not so much a ‘program’, but rather a real life support community; it encompasses techniques for supported living that we would want our own children to experience. Fernie is not proposing anything extraordinary. Rather we are creating a platform that the young person’s environment was unable to provide for them. Throughout the process, we want to change perceptions and raise the young person’s level of consciousness surrounding core values, principles and life skills. From our experience, we know three significant factors contribute to success in a person’s life:
- Timely application to resources
- Healthy and supportive network
- Significant positive adult relationship
Our service model builds these capacities in a young man’s life. In addition, we acknowledge that finding suitable housing, managing financially by way of gaining stable employment through education, and accessing services and supports are the major tasks for our young adults. Most available services are focused on youth under the age of 18 and are not accessible for young adults. Our young men are in a post-service transitional period and face several challenges that impede upon their ability to connect in their communities. Young men who need services are often disconnected from their positive natural support systems or form unhealthy support systems. This program is a comprehensive response to many of the challenges young adults face and equips them with resources and capacities to appropriately use their environment as a tool toward nurturing their positive development.
Youth will participate in a Fernie Works 51-week training program to provide them with vocational skills in trades with well-established market demand. The 51-week program will include an on-site training centre and a practical component at local churches. Elements of the training program include: participation of at least 30 hours per week in the Fernie Works Training Program, training education for landscaping and building maintenance employment Work Training certificate programs; WHIMIS, CPR/First Aid, AODA, Occupational Health and Safety, Driver’s License and pesticide operator certification.
Individuals who live at our transitional residence will have a private room with coop living for 2-4 young adults for up to one year. Residents are mutually accountable to one another and must maintain consent from all to stay in house. The daily living component will expose young adults to supported living and teach them core values, principles and life skills. Elements of daily living include:
Family (i.e. family counseling, spending time with family member(s))
Relationships (i.e. finding mentors, making new friends, intimates)
Volunteer (i.e. somewhere in the community, nursing home, soup kitchen, church, school)
Faith (i.e. small group, place of worship, bible study, foreign mission)
Self-Care (i.e. financial literacy, anger management, health/hygiene, cooking)
Community (i.e. individual or group activity, gym, sports, classes, YMCA)
House Keeping (i.e. chores, cooking, shopping, cleaning)
A graduate from the program will earn Alumni status at Fernie Youth and may continue to be an active participant in the Fernie Community. This may include attending the annual Christmas Party and Picnic as well as becoming a mentor to the next group of young adults who enter the program. Upon graduation, each youth will plan for independence, employment and housing with an identified mentor.