STRIVE Transition Program in Lowell

STRIVE = Supporting Transition and Re-Entry 
through Independence, Vocation, and Education

The STRIVE Program was opened in March 2008 with the intent of providing educational, vocational, recreational, clinical and other independent living skills to the older adolescents involved with the Department of Youth Services.

STRIVE is a twelve bed program that services adolescent males ages sixteen to twenty-one who are committed to the department. The program is an open door community based program, which helps individuals reintegrate into the community after they have served time in locked secured facilities. The individuals at the program are aided in finding employment, completing educational goals, developing positive structured recreational activities, and to find housing for those who do not have a home to transition to following successful completion of the program. Additionally, the individuals served at this program are assisted in life skill development and to create a structured daily schedule in an attempt to reduce recidivism. The goal is for individuals to accomplish these tasks in approximately three to five months. This program's unique design embraces the individuality of each client and their needs. Tailoring the program on a client by client basis creates a diverse population and a different way of defining success for each resident. It also provides the adults involved with the youth the opportunity to share in the successes of the clients but also to generate new solutions when the client is not as successful as they hoped. The staff at the facility has the ability to build strong relationships because of the many facets of the clients' lives with which they are involved.

Program Details

Education is the utmost priority for the STRIVE Program. It is the first step towards a more successful future for all of the men that reside at the program. All of the individuals served at STRIVE work with the Education and Employment Specialist in order to establish goals and explore the many options for their educational future. Individuals that enter the program with a high school diploma or GED typically explore educational options such as community college, trade schools, and apprenticeships. Those residents who have not completed their diploma or GED are enrolled in public school, alternative schools, or GED preparation classes. In house residents are also exposed to a life skill curriculum that focuses on Education, Employment, Money Management, Housing, and Transportation. These focal areas are the fundamentals of a successful future which is independent from agencies and primary caregivers.

Employment is another key facet to the STRIVE Program because it allows residents to have financial independence and is for many individuals the preliminary step in their career exploration and resume development. As soon as residents arrive at the program they work with the Education and Employment Specialist as well as clinical staff to assess their strengths, weakness, and interests. Residents are then assisted in the development of a resume, job application preparation, and interview skill development. The program has developed working relationships with many local businesses in order to expedite the job attainment rate for many individuals at the program. Furthermore, residents that enter the program with more skills and/or higher levels of education work with employers to attain jobs on supervisory and managerial tracks.

Clinical services are also provided to all residents residing at STRIVE There is a part-time master's level clinician that conducts both group and individual therapy. Additionally, there is a master's level clinical coordinator that works individually, and in groups with the residents. The clinical coordinator also serves as a liaison between the resident and community agencies for clinical and medical services. Residents work with clinicians to address a wide array of issues including but not limited to anger management, substance abuse, gang affiliation, positive social skill development, and coping skill development. There are many techniques for individual therapy utilized and the program also runs Dialectical Behavior Therapy groups in compliance with the DYS model. Additionally, residents are offered the opportunity to receive clinical services by community agencies.

Another goal of the program is to help provide positive recreational activities for the residents. This structured free time provides the residents with the opportunity to engage in crime free recreation. The program resources include attending the Lowell YMCA and UTEC. The Lowell YMCA provides memberships to all residents at the program and allows them to participate in the many facets of their positive community. UTEC is a teen drop-in recreational center that encourages music, technology, athletics, culinary, and cultural activities.

For more information about STRIVE contact:

Mike Kulig
Program Director
(978) 454-3006 x12