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On a Quiet Anchorage Street

On a quiet Anchorage street, in an unassuming family home, the Charlie Elder House group home for teen boys offers Alaska's young men a safe place to gain independent living skills while learning to manage emotional or behavioral issues. The Charlie Elder House program is managed by Catholic Social Services and clinical support is provided to the young men by AK Child & Family's community programs. Through this unique collaboration, the young men who live at Charlie Elder House get the support and expertise of two organizations that have been serving Alaska's youth for decades. Students in the Charlie Elder House program are supervised and coached by Benita Stepp, who resides in the Charlie Elder House and provides guidance and assistance. They are further supported by Chris Douglas, who provides case management to the residents of the house.

The Charlie Elder House program is open to young men from Alaska who are interested in having a stable place to call home while working on gaining independent living skills. The Charlie Elder House providers engage each of the young men through the Transition to Independence Process (TIP) model. This process allows each young man to choose his goals and treatment focus based upon his unique needs and plans for the future. The Charlie Elder House treatment team members have used the individual goals of many youth to help them gain the skills they need to transition into adulthood and become successful members of our Alaskan communities.

Benita recently relayed a story about one of her residents who successfully achieved his goal. This particular young man wanted to buy a car. He was motivated to have a ride of his own. Because having a car was important to him, buying a car was integrated into his plan for his time at the Charlie Elder House. His treatment team used this motivation to help him learn a number of valuable skills for independent living. To get the money for a car, he had to get a job. To successfully maintain employment, he gained interpersonal skills, marketable job skills, and time management techniques. To save the money for a car, he had to learn financial planning and money management. He prioritized the goal of buying a car and began to plan and think about long term rewards instead of short term desires. He learned to care for his car, drive safely, and be aware of how he treated his own property as well as others around him. After months of hard work, he finally had enough money to buy a car of his own. He had achieved his personal goal while gaining a host of skills that will allow him to be successful in adulthood.

The Charlie Elder House is available to young men who are able to safely live in a home environment with other teens and who need extra support to manage ongoing emotional or behavioral health difficulties. At this time, the Charlie Elder House does have availability for young men who are interested in learning independent living skills and working towards future goals. If you know of a young man who may benefit from the program, please feel free to call the Admissions Department at AK Child & Family at 346-2101 for more information.