Off-Campus Gap Experience

Mind the Gap Between High School and Independent Living

Gap years are continuing to be a growing phenomenon. According to the 2015 Gap Year Association National Alumni Survey report, 92% of gappers surveyed were motivated to take a gap year to “gain life experiences and experience personal growth.” After completing their gap year of choice, “this survey found an association between job satisfaction and civic engagement, and taking a Gap Year, participating in a Gap Year may have implications beyond immediate personal and college/academic outcomes.” Adding a touch of therapeutic support can make all the difference in a young adult’s life, and the success that Yellowbrick has witnessed over 15 years with this population is extraordinary.

Yellowbrick’s rationale for developing an innovative Gap Experience (Off-Campus) is to offer an additional option for emerging young adults and their families when they ask themselves, “Are we ready for what’s next?” These questions have been all the more intensified by requisite restrictions and changes to the post-high school platform due to Covid.
Yellowbrick’s Off-Campus will offer a transitional period that addresses a full spectrum of concerns for emerging young adults and their parents:

  • Do I have a core sense of self-direction and the capacity to execute on motivation and ambitions?
  • Do I have a support system separate from my family?
  • Am I able to take care of basic life skills such as budgeting, housekeeping, shopping, cooking, and personal self-care?
  • Am I knowledgeable as to resume building and writing, job search and interview skills?
  • How do I feel about leaving home; or staying at home!

Yellowbrick’s nationally recognized developmental-neurobiological model integrates brain research to facilitate normative maturation and assists in removing roadblocks to personal growth. Young adults will establish footing for making stable, supported, and intentional decisions about their life while exploring their passions, strengths, and talents. Off-Campus offers the following experiences:

  • actual or simulated college-level classes and support for those taking for-credit college classes
  • coaching for part-time employment, volunteer work, and internships
  • building peer community
  • social literacy and competence
  • executive function & life skills with an intentional focus on independent living
  • Understanding oneself in relation to intimacy and sexuality
  • regulating mind and body through yoga, mindfulness, and meditation
  • support for locating oneself and navigating risks within the emerging adult community
  • cultural explorations including art, music, Chicago museums & events

Yellowbrick has been supporting the emerging adult population to “Find your way home” since 2006. These young adult individuals are looking to “leave the nest,” whether to college, trade school, or beginning a work career. Many young people are not fully equipped, either instrumentally or emotionally and need a window of supported, experiential life experience. Some are also vulnerable such that increased independence involves possible risks.

Which emerging adults would make good use of Off-Campus?

  • The emerging adult who has been preoccupied with academics and may not have developed social competence or life-skills.
  • The emerging adult who is developmentally immature, has been protected, and is likely to be overwhelmed by the next step towards independence.
  • The emerging adult who has been challenged with ADHD and needs further executive function and life-skill support.
  • The emerging adult who has had struggles with substance abuse or other compulsive behaviors such that the loss of family and community structure and support may create undue risks even if they are currently safe.
  • The emerging adult who has experienced trauma and needs more support and time to feel safe while stepping towards independence.
  • The emerging adult for whom staying at home due to Covid is activating of emotional tensions but who is not yet ready to live independently
  • Yellowbrick’s Off-Campus Gap Experience uniquely offers a Family Process option to support families to address emotional issues involved in negotiating a new platform for moving forward as parents with an emerging adult.

For more information contact
Tracey Reaves MA,
Coordinator of Education and Off-Campus Gap Experience
847 869 -1500 ext 227

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