A Day in the Life at Youth Care and Beyond

 

Youth Care & Beyond provides hope and care by supporting choices that bring more freedom and independence.  We work with families, guardians, parents and individuals in completing their goals and find lasting healthy relationships. Learn more about a day in the life of several of the group homes and programs offered at Youth Care and Beyond.

Opportunities Adult: Karla's Story

 

My name is Karla and I am a 40-year-old young woman who came to Youth Care & Beyond in February of 2009. It was the very best decision I ever made. When I came, it was called the Lake Forest Adult Home, but now we have changed it to the Opportunities Adult Home and that describes how my life has changed. I need to tell you a little bit about me first.

 

I was born with a disability that made me have problems being able to learn and do things other kids my age could do. I really had problems reading and understanding things that people asked me to do. I had to go to special classes but I missed a lot of school because I did not like to go because it was too hard for me and I wanted to stay at home and help my family. 

 

I am the youngest of 17 children and I am a twin. I have a twin brother, Dale, who I call my "other half ". Dale lives in Florida and that just about killed me when he moved because we are so close. My mom and dad had 17 children and that includes 3 sets of twins.  I have another sister, who was a twin but her twin did not make it. Dale and I are very special because we did make it. It was hard being the youngest because everyone picked on me and sometimes I tried not to be seen so no one would bother me. I spent a lot of time hiding out from my older brothers because they liked to throw snakes on me. If Dale was around he would protect me.

 

My dad worked hard for the railroad, but one day he had a heart attack and passed away. This left my mom to take care of all of us.  We were really were close to my mom and one day she became sick and I tried my best to help but she got so sick, she had to go to the hospital and eventually passed away. This really hurt me, so I did some things that were not right and I had to leave my home and live in an Extended Family Home. I did not like it very much because I felt like I had no privacy or independence. It was not for me, so I told my service coordinator to help me find somewhere else to live. That is when I found Youth Care & Beyond Adult Home.

"This program really does mean "opportunities." I love living with Youth Care and Beyond...I could learn to be an independent person with people that cared about me and my welfare."

On a typical day, I get up by 9:00 a.m. and eat breakfast. I take my morning medication and if I don't have to work I may go back to bed for a while. I hate early mornings and I have been able to have a job that  lets me work in the afternoon. I do my personal hygiene and my housework. I then work on my budgeting skills and planning my day, week and month with my staff. My staff make sure that my apartment is neat and clean. They take me to work, grocery store and all my medical appointments. I could come and eat with my friends if I participate in the meal program. I love to help staff when they grocery shop or run errands on my days off. I can even learn how to cook fancier food than microwave meals if I choose. After dinner, I take my evening medication and start to wind down. However, I am a bit of a night owl so I may stay up and watch a scary movie. 

 

Since being here for the last 8 years, I have been able to get a job as a courtesy clerk at Hy-Vee, save for 3 trips to Florida to see my twin and move into a 1-bedroom apartment by myself. This program really does mean "opportunities." I love living with Youth Care & Beyond and I feel I am no longer hiding from anyone and I can learn to do things for myself with support from my staff.

 
Best Friends In Home: Tommy's Story

 

My name is Tommy and I am a 14 year old young man that has been given a diagnosis of Autism. I would like to share my life story with you. When I was born, I was considered to be healthy, smart and the life of the party. I would do all of the things that other kids would do. I learned to sit up around 4 months. I learned to speak and walk around 6 and 11 months. I was considered advanced for my age by the certain milestone that I would hit. I enjoyed my family and they enjoyed me. Then one day something happened. When I was about 2 years old, I stopped talking and forgot how to go to the bathroom. I was very alone and scared because I couldn't get my mommy and daddy to understand what I wanted or needed.

"Today, my life is a lot better. I love to see my mom and dad happy because I can do things for myself."

Today, My life is a lot better. I have a friend that comes to help me get ready for school. They help me get dressed, by picking out my clothes, but I can put them on. We eat breakfast together, sometimes I even pick out what I want to eat! As soon as we get done, I get my stuff for school and my friend and I wait for the bus on my porch.

 

I go to school and the nice teachers and aides help me throughout the day. My favorite subject in school is lunch! I love to eat. After school is over, I get back on the bus and my mom and my friend is waiting for me. A lot of times, I have to go to the bathroom when I get home so they help me with that and then comes my favorite time--snack time! I get to eat my favorite snacks that my family has waiting for me.

 

My favorite snack are Skittles. I love Skittles! In order for me to have Skittles, I have to practice skills that my friend is teaching me. I don’t always like to practice but I love Skittles.  Sometimes I try and hurry to get them over with. But my friend is always nice to me and helps me learn to do it right.  Now I don’t have to get angry as much anymore. The skill is helping me and I am getting better.

 

After we are done with that and I have had my fill of Skittles, it's dinner time. Then we watch a movie and sometimes I have to practice my skills again, but I do get more Skittles! When it's time for me to start getting ready for bed, my friend helps me into the bath, then I am in my pajamas and tucked in for bed.

 

My life before I had my friend was limited, but now I can do somethings on my own. I love to see my mom and dad happy because I can do things for myself.

 
Boys'/Girls' Family Home: Jacob's Story

 

My name is Jacob.  I am 17 and I have been in 12 placements before coming to Youth Care & Beyond.  I was in lock up for beating up people.  I have a real bad temper and when I get angry I fight and then black out.  I don’t really remember what I did but the police usually show up and put me back in lock up.  It kinda went like that for me until Youth Care & Beyond. 

When they came to interview me in lock up I was thinking, “Great another group home!”  As the admissions lady talk I was thinking yeah yeah. Once I got here I really tried not to like it.  But that didn’t last long. 
"...the people here care for you. They all help and try to listen to us in skill building and work hard to get us back home. I have learned a lot here and I am glad Youth Care and Beyond accepted me."

I mean it’s a group home, but the people here care for you.  They all help and try to listen to us in skill building and work hard to get us back home.  They even wrote a letter to my judge and I will get to leave in a few weeks after I finish my school finals. 

 

Now that I am doing better people always ask what is it like.  I mean its not home but the court said I couldn’t go home till I got better.  So to me this place is good.  We get up about 5:30am to begin getting ready for school.  There are 8 of us so we have to take turns showering and using the mirrors.  While some of us are showering the others are cleaning their room, getting medication if we needed it and hanging out with overnight staff. After we are all ready and have earned points we go down stairs and eat breakfast.  Usually while we wait for the bus, we have one on one time with staff to check back for more points.  The CARE teachers are always saying stuff like have a good day, stay out of trouble and talking about what we should do for free time when we get home. Then we catch the school bus to school.

 

At Youth Care & Beyond you can go to a public school, which I really like.  They got me in school really quick and I didn’t have to lose any credits.  We usually get home from school by 3:30pm and check in with the CARE staff to go over our school day, check back for points and have our afternoon snack and take medication if we need it. 

 

We have study time from 4-4:30PM with our tutor.  He works to help us stay on track or even catch up on credits if we lost time in detention like I did before coming here.  At 4:30 we total up our cards and see if we earned privileges (special free time and rewards). I’ll admit I’m not crazy about the point card, but I’m doing better now and almost always make my privileges.  If we have our privileges we complete our individual skill building.  One of us also take turns and help cook dinner.  We get to help pick out the meals and I have even taught the CARE staff how to make my mom’s enchiladas.  They are not as good as hers but they are good. If you don’t have your privileges staff will work with you on practicing skills, problem solving and coping skills.  They will go over your day and talk about how you can make your privileges tomorrow.  They work hard to keep us from getting too down on ourselves. 

Immediately after dinner we have a family meeting typically between 6-6:20pm. Family Meeting is where we talk about concerns and information is shared. Once Family Meeting has ended evening chores are completed and usually done by 7pm. From 7-8:30pm is free time which consists of, activities, tv, phone time, bible studies, youth group and skill building depending on the day. At 8:30pm there is an evening snack and any bedtime meds are given. Bedtime is 9:30pm with lights out at 10pm unless on a higher system. 

 

Weekends and non-school days are different. We have later wake up times but the schedule is about the same except lunch is provided here instead of at school and there is an activity or outing in the afternoon when they would normally have been in school.  I am now going home every weekend.  The better you do in the program the more you get to go home as long as the court agrees.  I have visits from Friday to Monday now and in 3 weeks I will be home all the time. I have learned a lot here and I glad Youth Care & Beyond accepted me.  They have a long waiting list and some of my housemates had to wait a few months before they got in.  My mom is so happy I did well too.  She says I’m like her sweet son again. 

 

We appreciate Jacob sharing his story with us, his name and identifying information has been changed for privacy.
 

Family Support Services

 

In July 2017 we started offering Family Support Services.  Family Support  is designed to provide early intervention with youth in greater metropolitan Omaha communities to reduce juvenile crime while also helping families make positive changes in their lives.  Family Support Program is for youth on probation, ages 9 to 17.  Services are available for up to 9 months.  Support includes such things as skill building, school advocacy and liaison, community resource connection, family meetings, tutoring, individual and family consultation, skills training, and assistance with transportation.

Life Skills Reporting Center

 

In August 2017 we started offering a community based reporting center. 

Our reporting center is designed to change youth’s  destructive thinking patterns, provide education and job training to assist in finding  long-term employment, and hold unemployed offenders accountable during the day.  We serve youth ages 10-18, who are on probation, providing structure, educational support, life skill instruction, (lunch and dinner as appropriate) and supervision to youth between the hours of 7:30AM-8PM in a community setting. Referrals come to us from juvenile probation officers.   The goals of  Life Skills Reporting Center are to reduce youth re-arrest, assist youth in successful reentry by providing needed services, and increase public safety by holding offenders accountable