Wayside Youth & Family Support Network, Inc., Framingham, MA

Young Adult Resource Centers: Serving Transition-Age Youth

Abstract: Wayside's Young Adult Resource Centers help vulnerable young people transition to healthy, productive adults.

All youth face major life decisions between the ages of 17 and 24. When young people have grown up in foster care or residential programs, without strong family or community support, and with emotional, behavioral, or substance abuse problems, they may also face homelessness, hopelessness, depression and prison. Wayside's Young Adult Resource Center model meets the challenges faced by these “transition age youth.” This model was first put into use with the opening of the Tempo Young Adult Resource Center in Framingham, MA, in 2007.

While health and social services exist in the community, many young adults face barriers, such as a lack of age-appropriate services, fear of stigma and confusion about how to access them. Tempo removes those barriers by offering all of its services under one roof and tailoring them to this age group. In collaboration with local partners, Tempo provides employment support, health screenings, legal advice and more. Young adults can choose to use one service or to work with staff to set and reach personal goals. Tempo is fun, friendly and unconditional. All young adults between the ages of 17 and 24 are eligible and it's impossible to “flunk out.” Tempo is youth-driven: a Young Adult Advisory Council has a voice in everything from developing programs to hiring new staff. Wayside replicated this model with the opening of the STEPS Young Adult Resource Center in Arlington, MA, in 2010.

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