At ADVANCE, our purpose is to create a path for maturity and growth within a structured setting and to help our students understand how to do life as an adult. This process is instrumental for young adults to find success in work, education, and everyday life after they leave the program. Within the Social & Self-Reliance component of ADVANCE, learning is centered on the following areas: initiation & self-regulation, sharing space with others, and making connections. These areas are overarching skills that help young adults establish themselves within a multitude of settings.
Initiation & Self-Regulation
Students that benefit from a program like ours, inherently struggle with executive functioning, making it difficult for them to manage themselves and navigate the social world. Throughout the program, students engage in direct learning about the executive functions that act as the “command center” for managing all of life’s responsibilities, strategies to build executive function competencies, and real-world opportunities to develop those skills.
Students find success at ADVANCE when they are looking to be independent for the “long haul” and are motivated to progress through the increasing expectations that help build executive function competencies. Improving our students’ executive functions is a critical piece in their ability to take ownership in their lives and of their choices.
We share space with others continuously throughout our lives – at work, taking classes, and exploring the community. When interacting with others, adults think about the expectations for that environment and relationships and choose actions that make those around them feel most comfortable. This intentionality results in obtaining and maintaining employment, building relationships, being included in groups, and being treated in more positive ways.
ADVANCE helps young adults better understand social situations, social expectations (hidden rules) and the thoughts and feelings of others, in order to increase awareness of how their actions and words impact others around them. Students are taught strategies to understand the social world and navigate adult expectations. They practice sharing space with others in a variety of settings such as riding the metro, walking on a city sidewalk to job interviews and in work settings. Students learn to set their own goals for building social capital and to self-assess their successes and setbacks in real-life situations.
While sharing space is critical to functioning as an adult, making meaningful connections with others allows adults to find fulfillment and success in their relationships and responsibilities. Connecting with others is foundational for long-lasting friendships, healthy work relationships, and intimate relationships. These connections reduce mental health challenges (depression & anxiety) and increase one’s ability to understand others, be flexible, and more self-aware.
Our young adults often need explicit instruction and feedback as connections with other adults are formed; they need support and strategies on making small talk, conversations to help get to know someone, what it looks like to “hang out” and the ebb and flow of healthy relationships. Topics often discussed in Seminars include conflict resolution, emotional regulation, advocacy, and setting/communicating boundaries. ADVANCE students practice these skills within the program and have opportunities to build relationships outside of the Training Center – in their learning or work environments.