Cale was 18, entering senior year and living in a tent. He and his mom had become homeless over the summer. The situation would have been difficult for anyone, of course, but the fact that Cale has a diagnosis on the autism spectrum made it especially difficult. As they camped in their tent and sometimes stayed in a motel, Cale became more emotionally dependent on his mother.
In the fall, Cale’s mom found a steady job and moved them into a mobile home. Then she enrolled him in the PCHAS Therapeutic Mentoring Program. It was time, she felt, for Cale to discover his own strengths.
The mentor, Brandon Byington, worked with Cale on problem-solving skills and appropriate independence. He encouraged Cale to try new social experiences and accompanied him, at first, to school events. “Now he attends them just like his classmates,” Byington says. “He goes to extra-curricular activities he never would have attended on his own before, even the sports games.”
PCHAS hires part-time and full-time therapeutic mentors. Although they generally have a degree in education or social sciences, they all receive supervision and training that includes:
“Having a mentor,” Cale’s mom says, “has given him a sense of normalcy and self-esteem he never had before. He is actually enjoying his senior year of high school.”
For information about becoming a therapeutic mentor or to refer a child for mentoring, call 800-888-1904 or contact us online.