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Residential Experience

I’ve changed a lot since I first started as a resident at CA Adult Programs. I moved in on Father’s Day. My dad and brother helped me settle into this new idea of living independently. They made sure I had everything I needed to support me for the years to come and with hope that my life would be better than it was while living at home. Here is a short story about my residential experience at CA.

My parents were doing so much research online and had almost given up; however, my brother finding out about the CA program was the last line of hopeOtherwise, I think that I would still be in my parents’ basement.

My brother found out about the house through a co-worker at his old job. His old co-worker used to work at the house. My brother brought it up to my parents who then wanted to see if it would be a good fit before sending me there. So, my dad and brother went to Richmond to check out the house firstMy dad and I had checked out the program at Woodrow Wilson, and I think, one or two other programs before deciding that CA was the best fit. My parents were doing so much research online and had almost given up; however, my brother finding out about the CA program was the last line of hopeOtherwise, I think that I would still be in my parents’ basement.


Moving in

When I first moved in, it was full of life and vibrancy with all the people who lived there. It was a mixed bag of emotions! I mainly felt excitement, hesitancy, and anxiousness about moving away from my parents. This was the start of my residential experience at the CA Residential Program.

It was a suitable time as any to move as I was in my early twenties. I wasn’t like others my age who had their own vehicle to get to where they needed. Instead I had to rely on a taxi or my parents for transportation. There were not many bus lines where I am from. I feel that Richmond has better options for public transportation since I don’t drive. The GRTC as well as Pulse has many places to go. I even used to ride the Carevan, which is also through GRTC.

My initial experience with moving into the house was that I was going to have to learn more skills and was unsure of what to expect. I had moved from Northern Virginia to Richmond to be in the program. It took patience in finding a steady job and people who would stick their necks out for someone who needed some help. I applied to approximately 300 jobs. If it wasn’t for those kind people, I wouldn’t have the opportunities I have today. I am grateful for the support of the people around me. Both, from the job I got and the managers at the Adult Program.


New Skills

After I attended the Open House and learned that I was accepted into the program, it took a couple of months to prepare to move in. My parents wanted me to know how to do certain responsibilities before leaving the nest. Learning how to cook, clean and do my own laundry took some time and patience to get down to a level that would make me feel more independent. I had to figure out before leaving home what to do with my clothes as I had never done these tasks on my own before. My dad took me to a cooking class to learn how to prepare foods in various ways. This skill has been necessary in terms of everything I have needed for my culinary skills. Speaking of cooking skills, they grew from the basic comfort food of spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread and I am now cooking more diverse foods and healthier, too. I always want to be able to make different foods for the house to show off my skills. Some of my favorite things to cook are stir fry and slow cooked meals.

Working with the counselors at the CA Residence has helped me to grow and become more independent. If it weren’t for my residential experience in the program, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I have a job I like and have had for three years. I am more confident in taking public transportation. I’ve met more people I can relate to and feel connected with people who are like-minded. I feel like if I can do it, anyone can if you have the right supports in place.

At the end of it all, I still have room for continued growth. As time has progressed, I have realized how much I have changed and see it as a continued trajectory of where I wish to see myself in the future.


Author, Teal C. – Former Resident in CA Adult Programs

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