Transitional Living Center

July 14, 2008 8:58:27 PM PDT
The freedom that comes when turning 18 can also bring problems and responsibilities some young people aren't prepared for ... but one local program is making the transition to adulthood much easier ... Just a year and half ago, Thomas Dailey was homeless ... sleeping in back of his car or on a friends couch. "I'd been having some hard time, going from place to place. My cousin told me there's a place that can help you out, help you get on your feet."

That place was the Sanctuary's Transitional Living Center, or TLC ... The Fresno county program provides young people ages 16 thru 24 with a place to stay, help in finding a job and managing their money.

Thomas says, "It helped me get out of debt. I had a lot of debt. Helped me get my own apartment, finish another semester of school."

Clients, like Thomas must earn their right to stay at TLC apartments. They pay rent according to how much they earn, they must meet with a case-manager, go to school, do community service, and attend counseling.

"Our services focus on being healthy," says Stacie Hines, Sanctuary Youth Services Director. "As far as their mental health, their stability with becoming independent ... and having the education they need to get and sustain a job."

Francisco Vizcarrondo is doing a lot more than sustaining a job ... He was recently promoted at the local Conservation Corps where he works in construction and building maintenance. The 23-year was addicted to meth and had been in and out of jail since he was a teen.

"I was at the end of my line, I was facing some time that I didn't want to do. Three years and eight months in prison. I knew I need a program ... I knew I needed some help."

With TLC, Francisco got his second chance. He is now drug-free and is going to school, hoping to open his own business one day. "It's helped me to become more self-reliant, more confident. I know that I am hard worker; I know that I can accomplish things once I set my mind to it."

Thomas has a few months left in the program, then he and his 11-month old son "Sodapop" are on their own, but he now feels ready. "You get help, sometimes it's hard to ask for help, but sometimes you need it."

Francisco was recently named Corps Member of the Year ... And was honored at a reception in Washington D.C.
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