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New Perspectives - Oct, 1998 Issue #54

Life Designs
Apprenticeships for empowering young adults
Randy & Colleen Russell, Owners
Cusick, Washington

Using the apprenticeship model, the Russell’s are developing a program for young men and women ages 18-26 who are seeking a non- traditional path to independence. “Enrollment is limited to five students assuring individualized attention is given to each apprentice.” 

“Life~Designs purposely uses the simple life-style of our home and the ancient teaching form of apprenticeship to experientially teach basic independent living skills. Nature, the farm, recreation, creativity and community service are some of the elements used to create a healing and learning environment for each apprentice….”

Their professed goals for each enrolled young adult are to: 

  1. Bring closure on adolescent and move into adulthood….
  2. Learn basic life skills. 
  3. Open the imagination…. 
  4. Practice healthy social skills with the immediate community and as a good neighbor. 
  5. Live in balance and harmony with oneself and the environment.
  6. Explore future occupational options that match their interest, skills and values. 
  7. Create a viable plan for the next phase of life…. 

This is a program for young adults who are ready to become independent, but need and are looking for guidance, support and help. This is not a program for resistant, angry young adults, and they will screen out applicants who are unwilling, have a history of running away or violent acting out, or have serious psychological disorders. 

The program started last summer temporarily set-up on part of Straight Arrow’s property (visit report in Woodbury Reports Issue #52, June/July 1998) while completing the details on their permanent location near Colville, Washington. They are located about an hour north of Spokane, Washington with a tremendous amount of outdoor recreation and experiences available. Other resources that can be taken advantage of are a community college, two hospitals, and a community theater. 

They also believe they serve the families of the young men and women. Since each family is seen as a vital part of the process into adulthood, appropriate parents are those who are ready for their child to become a responsible young adult, are willing to “let go,” and are “Ready to personally expand and grow into your second adulthood through your own midlife changes.”

Randy has spent the last six years in responsible positions at The NorthStar Center in Bend, Oregon, and Colleen “is an experienced educator and counselor on ‘change and transition.’”

Copyright © 1998, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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