Many families have faced the same questions as their child graduates the Elim Christian School. They wonder what their child will do next. The Transitions program at Elim, through the Building Bridges program in Chicago, helps to guide families through the complicated process. In conjunction with five other social service facilities, Elim created the position of a Transitions Outreach Specialist (TOS) which has been filled for a year by June Oosterhoff-Hoops. As a TOS, June works specifically with families who have children from the years eighteen to twenty-two, guiding them through the process of transitioning out of the school system. Both the child and guardians walk together through this program.
Joanna and Fred are currently navigating the Transition from school to adult services with their grandson Tim. Joanna and Fred have guardianship over their grandson Tim who is currently in the “transition” stage. Before June came on board with the Transitions program Joanna commented that, “the whole process was confusing, we didn’t know what needed to be done.” Now, “as June assumed control of the conference process [a workshop in the transitions program], it became more professional, and less of a hassle – especially when June helped out with the computer issues” says Joanna and Fred.
The Transitions program provides classes for guardians to attend, teaching them about different adult services and ways to gain financial support. It also hosts tours of different adult facilities.
These classes have informed Joanna and Fred of different options available to Tim who is currently exploring the possibilities of his adult life through Elim’s STEP program. In STEP, Tim attends training for half of his day, learning about trades he can apply after his transition from school life to his adult life.
June helped set up this transitioning program specially for Tim. This greatly reduced the work for his grandparents, who live out of state. Describing their view of Tim in the Transitions program, Joanna and Fred agreed that, “He has a good and happy attitude about adapting to this change in his life.” It is through the TOS position that families are able to network and overcome the transitioning process.
June currently works with about eighty young adults and their families in the process and expresses that, “if we could get some more help, that’d be great,” because she feels that she should be working with children as young as 14 years old. The process of shifting from school to adult life is a long and often confusing path. The process is made more straightforward for families like Tim’s through the Transitions program at Elim. As a result, Tim and others like him are equipped to achieve their highest God-given potential in school and when they graduate into the adult community.
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