Established in 1973, GAP is a high-intensity, structured group home in Bethesda Maryland, serving males aged 12-20 who have experienced physical and emotional abuse, neglect, sex and human trafficking, or involvement with the juvenile justice system. The youth who are placed through the Maryland Department of Social Services or the Department of Juvenile Services receive individual and group therapy, trauma informed, positive youth development, life skills development, educational services, pro-social recreation activities, and comprehensive health services. In addition, these youth receive 24-hour residential care and supportive services that focus on family permanency and community reintegration.
Kevon Calhoun, Program Director
Abandoned, rejected, abused, neglected, and alone —who do I belong to? Why doesn’t anyone want me? How come no one loves me for being me? No wonder my distrust and anger with the world, my struggle with building bonds with people, my inability to forgive those who have hurt me over and over again, my failing grades, my feeling of hopelessness, and my inability to love myself.
That was me. I needed to free myself of the guilt and anger and continue my life journey to true independence. I got the tools that allowed me to love myself and to understand that I am fully human and deserve love.
GAP gave me a second chance at life, with my family. GAP has not only helped me but annually it helps youth from throughout the entire State of Maryland. Many of these youth suffer with abandonment, rejection, abuse, and neglect, but in this 20 bed, highly structured residential, community living programs, they too can achieve stability, whether it be with their family, foster families, or independent living.
Each year, the program serves over 25 youth, aiding their transition to productive adulthood. One participant purchased her own car, earned her college degree from the University of Maryland in epidemiology, saved over $40,000 in savings, obtained full-time employment after completing two internships for the Montgomery County Department of Health and the United States Army. She began the process of purchasing a house before she emancipated at 21.
Since 1995, FILP has prepared male and female youth, ages 16-20 in foster care and juvenile services, to live on their own as productive members of the community. Youth who have been removed from their families are referred to FILP because they are in need of structure, guidance, and support to be successful as they transition out of the child welfare system as young adults. Program participants live in 2-bedroom apartments located in Rockville, Maryland, with access to shopping, public transport, jobs and vocational/educational resources. FILP provides housing, life-skills training, job training/placement resources, counseling and other supportive services which give youth the opportunity to: 1) improve emotional stability; 2) achieve academically; 3) obtain viable and gainful employment; 4) become self-sufficient; and 5) develop healthy family and community relationships. Youth create trustworthy adult relationships and learn how to effectively manage their money, purchase food, prepare meals, maintain an apartment, and meet their recreational, physical and social needs in a positive manner.
Anna Wolf, LCSW-C, Program Coordinator
The FutureBound Teen Parent Program is an apartment-based independent living program that provides 24-hour comprehensive supervision and teaches concrete life skills to adolescent parents, ages 16 – 20, and is designed to help create positive outcomes for both the single parent and their young child.
Founded on empathy, learning, caring and bonding, FTPP’s Nurturing Parent Program model is trauma-informed, family-centered and evidence-based. Through this model, FTPP enhances parenting skills and prepares the residents to live on their own within the community. Teen parents have the opportunity to: 1) demonstrate positive parental engagement and attachment; 2) increase housing stability; 3) reduce repeat pregnancies; 4) become better educated; and 5) find jobs that promise economic stability. FTPP provides individual and group parenting sessions focused on educational planning, advocacy and housing services, life skills training, job training/placement, counseling and other supportive services.
Anna Wolf, LCSW-C, Program Coordinator
Teenagers who are: aged out of the foster care system, immigrants who are unaccompanied, youth pushed out by their families, and those suffering mental health problems, are especially affected by instability that places them at an elevated risk for homelessness and dependency. Because young homeless individuals need significant support to resolve the problems that impede their attainment of self-sufficiency, residential and financial stability, and healthy families, FTHP targets participants who need more intensive supports than is provided at traditional shelters, to help the youth build new support systems, reduce or eliminate their dependence on the public welfare system, and reduce repeated occurrences of homelessness. One recent FTHP alumnus attended The George Washington University on scholarship obtaining a degree in Computer Engineering. He currently works as a full-time software engineer at NASA. Three residents graduated from high school recently, despite their homelessness, and have found employment or vocational certification.
A single unaccompanied youth must either seek shelter with family or friends or in the adult shelter system, where they do not receive appropriate support services. The FTHP model immediately responds to a growing need in the community, serving a full continuum of homeless youth with inadequate workforce and financial planning skills.
FTHP provides homeless youth with apartment housing in Rockville, Maryland, a resource-intensive area with direct access to public transportation, grocery and retail stores, and a variety of community supports. Our staff are available 24-hours/7 days a week to provide support and guidance, daily reminders regarding program standards and expectations, and to encourage participants to strive towards their goals and transition out of the program. Key program components include: 1) life skills development; 2) educational/vocational assistance; 3) workforce development; 4) savings 5) community linkages; and 6) aftercare support. To date, FTHP has served over 60 homeless youth.
Anna Wolf, LCSW-C, Program Coordinator
The period of adolescence is difficult to navigate and our Wellness Center staff are trained to recognize the challenges and rewards that accompany a high school graduation, the transition into adulthood, and a healthy development of autonomy, stability and independence. The Wellness Center has been and continues to be a non-judgmental, supportive environment that enables students to grow and develop with confidence. We envision students who are healthy in body, mind and spirit, fully committed to high academic achievement and models of leadership, strength and success.
The Northwood High School Wellness Center provides opportunities for students and families to receive support in key areas, including physical and emotional health, pro-social activities and concrete services. The Wellness Center is devoted to helping students in the school community achieve success by offering coordinated medical care, quality counseling, positive youth development, and health education experiences in a confidential and culturally sensitive manner. All programs and services are provided in an inclusive, culturally competent, trauma informed and confidential manner.
Located in the Four Corners neighborhood of Silver Spring, The Northwood High School Wellness Center provides a wide array of services that include somatic health care, mental health counseling (individual, family and group), case management, positive youth development (PYD) activities, workforce development, conflict resolution and mediation, and parent education, outreach and engagement. From bilingual mental health counseling, to civic engagement and family reunification groups, the Wellness Center team also reflects the make-up of the students, and provides an array of culturally appropriate services to meet the most urgent needs of its student population and their families. Each year, it continues to provide this safe haven for youth, evidenced by over 350 students who seek services from the Wellness Center annually, as well as the stellar outcomes reported in customer satisfaction surveys.
Roscoe Johnson, Site Coordinator