Alumni, by Kirsty Webster,
In the summer of 2014 our first group of learners completed their bespoke programmes and left Transition 2. It is really important that the opportunities to which they transitioned are sustainable, so in September 2014 I took on the role of Wellbeing Manager, which encompasses Safeguarding, pastoral/tutorial team leadership, therapeutic coordination and delivery, family/carer engagement and monitoring sustainability of alumni outcomes.
We had our first alumni catch up on Thursday 20th November at the café in Quad, where leavers Hazima, Clare, Jayden, Zak and Daniel joined me and two of our Learning Facilitators, Angie and Charlotte.
This was a great opportunity for them to come together and share all their news about what they have been doing in the last few months since graduating from Transition 2.
Making their way to the Quad independently, Zak and Daniel were the first to arrive, so they sat together filling each other in on all of their news. When they first arrived at Transition 2 in September 2012 they found it extremely difficult to be around other people. Zak would avoid socialising with others as much as possible, becoming very anxious when he was with lots of people, and so would often try to find ways to be alone. It was wonderful to see how much he had progressed as he confidently told us how he would be socialising with his colleagues at their Christmas party straight after our gathering. Daniel too had come such a long way in order to chat to his friends, which is something he had lost the confidence to do when he first joined us.
Zak was very pleased to share his news and continued to ask thoughtful questions to find out about the other leavers and staff. Zak’s end goal of ‘Gaining more confidence and independence within work-related and supported living environments’ was facilitated during his time at Transition 2 and has been accomplished through the continuation of his regular voluntary roles at his local library, charity shop and café, jobs he has secured through liaison between himself, Transition 2 staff and the Local Area Coordinator in Alvaston.
Daniel was also excited to talk to us about the developments with his Shared Lives Carers. This support was set up to give Daniel a wider circle of support and the opportunity to meet new people and visit new places. He was very grateful to his Key Worker Angie for all of her time in researching and setting up the support. Daniel is now so busy, enjoying his time with a varied week of work and leisure activities. He undertook travel training as part of his learning pathway at Transition 2 and was the last to leave Quad, independently catching the bus back home.
It is important to recognise the impact that the leavers becoming more independent has had on their family life. Zak told us that now he travels independently his Mum doesn’t have to transport him everywhere and is no longer worrying about where he is and whether he needs support. She is now able to work and has gone from being out of work to having two jobs.
Jayden and his parents John and Janice also joined us, sharing their exciting news of Jayden performing his music in the community. Jayden’s end goal was to ‘Develop social and organisational skills for independent music performance.’ Through a careful programme of learning, he developed his self-management skills in order to reduce his anxieties as well as his communication skills, becoming more confident with new people and in situations of change. He left Transition 2 having achieved an Aim Award Level 1 Unit in ‘Developing music skills for solo performance’, along with some personalised marketing materials to promote his community music. He now works once a week at a local Nursing Home, Warwick House, where the staff and residents enjoy having him so much they have invited him to perform on Christmas day, followed by Christmas dinner with his Warwick House family! Jayden seemed very happy about this, and Janice said it would be great for Jayden to have some routine maintained, which is very important for Jayden’s wellbeing.
Hazima and Clare are always so busy, with diaries full of exciting plans. Hazima has overwhelmed us all by reaching her end goal, to ‘Gain confidence and develop self-management skills to increase independence and reduce anxiety’ and demonstrates these skills regularly with her busy schedule of activities and support. She has settled in brilliantly with her Shared Lives family and is going to join her carer for Christmas dinner. Hazima will also be helping her carer do some Christmas shopping for her family. She has always been such a kind and caring young lady, and this is now being shared with others.
Clare’s end goal was to ‘Develop confidence and skills to become a more independent woman.’ She looked very trendy as always, expressing her individuality and style confidently. She told us about her work at Derby Theatre and how she is able to watch the performances after she has checked the tickets and sold programmes; a perfect opportunity to participate in her love of the theatre and to show off all of her glamorous outfits!
We are all extremely proud seeing the leavers looking and behaving so maturely and hearing about their transition programmes coming to life! We discussed meeting again in the new year, so will look at planning to go out for a meal and find out more about their lives as they continue to move on as young, independent adults.