Heritage Announces the Creation of the Launch Academy

capture-1Heritage proudly announces the creation of the Launch Academy, Heritage’s third clinical academy that is complementary to the existing Peers and Elevate Academies. The Launch Academy prepares students who are older for the transition to a more independent living situation once they leave Heritage.

“We are excited to provide a valuable and much-needed service for our students,” said Eugene Marshall, Elevate Academy Clinical Director and architect of the Launch Academy. “We consistently have a number of students who turn 18 while at Heritage or shortly after leaving. Many of these students look forward to college and finding employment. The Launch Academy is designed to prepare these students for that phase of their lives whether they will be living with their family, independently living on their own or transitioning to a young adult program where they can pick up from where they left off in the Launch Academy.”

All students in Peers and Elevate Academies receive training and preparation to return to their families or traditional boarding schools. Launch Academy provides a higher level of independence while still having an appropriate amount of trusted support to rely upon. The ultimate goal is to help students “launch” from the intensive support they’ve been surrounded with into a new level of independence.

“We work with the consultants, schools and their families to determine what is next for the student and what support and options they have once they leave Heritage,” said Keven Downs, executive director. “The Launch Academy gives a student’s family and Heritage therapists additional options because of the state licensing, admissions criteria and the levels of trust we have with these students. Qualifying students will have to meet and continue to adhere to specific criteria  to participate in the Launch Academy.”

The Launch Academy targets the following six areas:

  • Professional development

  • Relationship and communication skills

  • Daily living skills

  • Financial literacy

  • Health and mental development

  • Academic and social development

In addition to the skills listed above, students will benefit from weekly individual, family and group therapy and recreation therapy. They will continue and/or complete their high school education at Heritage or they may begin college courses online or at a local college or university. Students in the Launch Academy will also have jobs on or off-campus.

Launch Academy candidates must be 16-19 years of age. They are required to complete at least six months in the Elevate or Peers Academy or must have successfully completed a wilderness or similar program. Although they will be overseen, coached and supported by the Launch Academy Clinical Director and Launch Academy mentors, they must be self-motivated and be able to self supervise.

Initially, the Launch Academy will consist of two gender-specific eight-bed dormitories located on the Heritage campus.

The Launch Academy will begin enrolling a limited number of boys in October and gradually increase capacity in the following months. Launch Academy for girls is scheduled to begin enrolling students in the first quarter of 2017.

“The investment in the Launch Academy is further evidence of our commitment to the long-term success of the students in our care,” Keven said. “It will be an Academy that many of our current students will aspire to meet the enrollment criteria for and one that will make a lasting impact on the lives of the students and their families.”

For more information on the Launch Academy and the criteria for participation, please contact Ian Petersen, Business Development Director at ian.petersen@heritagertc.org.

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