Transition and Independence – HOPEhouse with Alex

Alex works on her laundry at HOPEhouse

Alex, 20, is one of eight residents at HOPEhouse, a transition program for young adults learning independent living skills.  The program is located in a supportive, home-like environment on Cotting School’s campus. Alex applied to HOPEhouse one year ago.  Her transition is concentrated above all on the vocational track.  Therefore, she is particularly focused on gaining a variety of work experiences and the endurance required for long, independent work weeks.

The five-day residential HOPEhouse transition program parallels the Cotting School academic calendar. A full schedule greets Alex each Monday morning.  This includes academic courses, two different jobs, weekly laundry responsibilities, and budgeting for grocery trips. “Being independent is my goal,” explains Alex. “I want to learn to cook on my own, and eventually live on my own.” In addition to all she’s learning about independent living, she is learning how to communicate with her housemates. “Each Monday night we share our ‘sweet and sour’ moments of the day. This is helping me learn how to live in a group.”

HOPEhouse and the College Transition Experience

During the fall, Alex took an “Introduction to Hospitality” course at Mass Bay Community College that met twice per week. “I wanted to learn about hotels, and I thought this might be a good course for me to take,” says Alex. The course covered the hospitality industry, from hotels to cruises to casinos, but she enjoyed the visits to local hotels the most. Coursework? “The course was hard at times. I do like to study, but I had to do a lot of studying,” she adds.

Project Bridges: Variety and Consistency

Alex sets the table at The Inn at Hastings Park

As a final project for her course at Mass Bay, Alex presented an analysis of The Inn at Hastings Park boutique hotel. Her project included the Inn’s history, demographics, marketing strategy, safety concerns, and financials. After her course, Alex advocated for herself and secured a job at the Inn. She is currently spending one day per week at the Inn with a Cotting Job Coach.  Alex is folding towels, stocking inventory, and experiencing first-hand the many hospitality concepts that she learned in her college classroom. In addition, she rounds out her week of work at Waltham Crossings Senior Community twice per week.

Transition and Independence, Post 22

At age 22, Alex will take her experiences at Cotting School and HOPEhouse and transition to her next chapter. While still a couple of years away, she has begun to think about her plans to be increasingly independent and build her resume. “I’d like to think about enrolling in a day program, get a job, and maybe live in an apartment. I’m getting ready to move on.”

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