Independent Living Skills Groups
LIFE Skills Foundation facilitates two weekly independent living (IL) skills groups for teens and young adults in Durham. Fall classes begin on September 26 and run for 11 weeks (no classes the week of Thanksgiving). Participants ages 19-22 meet from 3:30-5:00 on Thursdays and ages 15-18 meet from 5:00-6:15 on Thursdays. The IL groups cover topics ranging from resumes and employment, education, housing, health and wellness, substance use, relationships and communication, and budgeting. The IL groups are open to Carolina Outreach and LIFE Skills clients, as well as youth in the community. We partner with community organizations who are frequent guest speakers to the groups, including the Durham County Department of Health, Planned Parenthood, The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Legal Aid, Durham County Department of Social Services, Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, and Achievement Academy. Dinner is provided at each group, along with Go Durham bus passes, snacks, and two gift card drawings.
LIFE Skills Foundation operates a small housing program, primarily consisting of six two-bedroom apartments located in central Durham. The transitional housing program is geared toward youth who have aged out of the DSS Foster Care system and who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. LIFE Skills housing provides a safe and secure, hands-on opportunity for young adults to learn and practice independent living skills, and to eventually transition into their own stable housing. Youth in the transitional housing program are either in an educational program or employed at least 30 hours per week. They meet with LIFE Skills staff weekly to work on their personal goals, and also contribute 30% of their income toward a savings account. Practicing day-to-day skills, such as cooking, grocery shopping, living with a roommate, budgeting, and household management are crucial components of the Transitional Housing Program. Because space is limited, we are only able to accept referrals from a small number of community partners. The transitional housing program focuses on youth 18 and older who have aged out of the DSS Foster Care system and who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Services
When young adults walk through our doors, we understand that they carry a story and a history with them. The youth who are a part of LIFE Skills Foundation are resilient and brave, having overcome many challenges and difficult experiences in their lives. At LIFE Skills, every person is provided with a confidential clinical mental health assessment and substance use screening. Youth create personal goals for themselves, and are encouraged to participate in weekly individual counseling with Licensed Clinical Social Workers. LIFE Skills staff also offer a weekly substance use group, utilizing a harm-reduction and Motivational Interviewing approach to assist youth in making the best possible choices. LIFE Skills offers person-centered and evidence-based therapies, which can include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution-Focused Therapy.
Imagine being 18 years old and living on your own for the first time, and no one has ever showed you how to do laundry, or grocery-shop, or make a doctor’s appointment. This is the experience of many of the transition age youth entering LIFE Skills Foundation’s program. Our Transition Specialists meet one-on-one with each youth to provide guidance and hands-on learning for crucial daily skills including filling out job applications, making and keeping medical appointments, enrolling in educational programs, connecting with internships, and assisting with Medicaid and SNAP benefits applications. LIFE Skills also partners with multiple other local agencies to provide additional wraparound supports and resources. Working with our collaborative partners and a Transition Specialist offers unique and tailored support to youth, who are then empowered to advocate effectively for themselves as they navigate into adulthood.