Alex was 19 years old when he came to Orchard Village as both a student at Orchard Academy and resident at our transition group home in Morton Grove. Raised by his adopted mother from the age of four, Alex had gone through a difficult period at age 15 and had at that time been admitted to a large residential facility for young adults with special needs and behavioral challenges. He lived there for four years.

Alex’s transition from the highly structured living/learning environment of this larger scaled residential program to the more “independent” arrangement at Orchard Village and Orchard Academy was, at first, a challenge for him. But outgoing and friendly by nature, Alex was able to “hunker down” and thrive. At the Academy, he learned important life skills: cooking his own meals, navigating public transportation, budgeting and managing money, and executing a job search. To the delight of all, a more mature, relaxed and confident Alex began to emerge.

Alex is now earning a wage in a community based job and living in his own apartment with minimal support. Mission accomplished!