Refocusing for new year

Refocusing, This New Year Marks Another Switchback

As I’ve reflected on this past year, our students’ paths to progress have reminded me of the approach to the world famous hike, Angels Landing, in Zion National Park. It’s called Walter’s Wiggles.

Enjoying the view on top of Angel's Landing at Zion National Park
Enjoying the view on top of Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park

Going straight up the clifflike approach to Angels landing would be treacherous and intense. Personal safety equipment including ropes and harnesses would be required even for highly experienced hikers, and even then, ascension would be exhausting. So, in order to help all hikers safely reach the top on their own, the park service cut Walter’s Wiggles into the mountainside.

This series of 15 switchbacks corrects and re-corrects hikers’ lateral direction back and forth across the cliffside in order to maintain a manageable grade and ultimately bring them to their vertical destination. It’s a slow and steady way to hike, but it eliminates dangerous falls and helps hikers get to the top safely without mountaineering know-how.

This is what TFL has consistently offered our students over the last year: accommodation and direction.

We have broken down the intense climb of reaching independence, and multiplied it into many smaller, more manageable paths. Each time your students’ paths changed direction this year, they rose a little higher up the mountain. Kudos to them! Great work!

This new year marks another switchback, one of refocusing.

Letting life, emotions, and other external circumstances direct their choices and habits has been a common and painful pattern for our students. They often find themselves choosing the path of least resistance and having fewer opportunities as a result. Eventually they get stuck, and some sort of intervention is needed. For many of them, that process was a key factor in your decision to help them find independence at TechieForLife. For us, that’s why we make consistent adjustments to our individualized approaches. The big adjustment this year is living on purpose.

Consistently and purposefully choosing what they will accomplish in a day, how they will grow, and what habits they will form is a key part of success for our students and a requirement for independent living.

To help them reach that milestone, we’re introducing the following:

  • Morning Connections
  • Schedule Improvements
  • Monthly Themes
  • Enhanced Mentoring
  • Revised Electronics Policy

We are excited about 2019! We look forward to hiking up more switchbacks this year as our students press towards greater heights. The best part of Angels Landing is getting to the top. We’re confident that our students will discover the same thing about reaching independence.

-Cam Sherman, TFL Program Director

Transformational experience shared by graduate student

Transformational Experience- Graduate Student Update

TechieForLife graduate students like to come back to TFL and share their stories.

Reid’s transformational experience while at TechieForLife is a great example of what is possible.

“This week I had the opportunity to share with everyone at TFL my story.

Before I came to TFL, I was very addicted to video games.

Big smile from graduate student who shared his transformational experience with TFL students.

I would work just enough to pay my rent and car payment but nothing more because I wanted to just play video games.

One day my life got turned upside down.

I got kicked out from where I was living and my car got repossessed.

When I came to TFL I was really critical, I didn’t want anything to do with anyone.

As time went on no matter how many time I told staff I wasn’t going to change they continued to encourage me, and believed I could be something more than I did.

They helped me reach my goals of getting a tech job, attending college and most importantly helped me believe and have confidence in myself.

I currently have straight A’s in school, I’m working a part time job and I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life.” -Reid, TFL Graduate

Car and Bike Maintenance

We went out and learned how to check the oil, tire pressure and how to jump a battery.

I knew how to do most of it but when you don’t do it often you kind of forget so it was a good review. -Nick, TFL student

Cross-country horseback riding

Cross-Country Adventure Horseback Riding

We had a blast at our annual cross-country horse trip.

We spent the night in a cabin and navigated steep hills, sandy riverbeds, and even hiked into a slot canyon.

It was a great overnighter.

Some of the students seemed a little nervous about riding horses and guiding them on the right path, but all enjoyed galloping, trotting, and climbing hills by the end.

-Cam, TFL Director

Wood working

Trying Out Wood Working

“For Life skills today we did woodworking. It took a series of a few days. We put a lot time and effort into cutting the wood, gluing the box together,  sanding the box making sure it was all soft and even, and then I oiled the boxed to finish it up. It was a fun activity because it was something different then my usual schedule.”

                 -Brian A., TFL student

Go-Karting fun

Go-Karting Fun with fellow students…

Go-karts at Fiesta Fun

Go Karting is fun, it’s always a fun time.

My competitiveness kicks in every time I get on the track and every time I lose, I am always re-motivated to keep losing weight so my go kart will go faster and I will one day beat my friends here at TechieForLife.

-Carlos, TFL student