Onward Transitions Celebrates Move to New Work Space
S. Portland, Maine – Onward Transitions continues to find innovative ways to meet the needs of emerging adults living independently during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company recently purchased a 4,600 square foot, centralized location to house their comprehensive service offerings, while maintaining or exceeding CDC recommendations for transmission mitigation. The new property includes a commercial-sized and equipped kitchen, large offices and common spaces, and a spacious “great room” that can adapt from holding large group meetings to hosting smaller groups for music, the arts, or exercise. An outdoor green space will provide an additional outlet for programming and social gathering.
“We have seen a robust increase in not only attendance but also in folks just hanging around since moving to the new space in March,” reported Executive Director Tracy Bailey. “Our members,” (Bailey explained that the program refers to its clients as members and workers as staff) arrive in the morning for the clinical groups, stay for individual sessions, participate in our executive functioning group in the afternoon, and then have a socially distanced dinner with us before heading home. The new location is just minutes from the heart of downtown Portland. In addition to running regular OT shuttles, each member has a limited corporate UBER account to conveniently get to and from their apartment to the new Pine House”.
“In between all of their appointments, the members are out walking, soaking up some spring vitamin D, playing a highly contested game of Mario Kart, Wii tennis or cornhole, jamming with our guitars, or just catching up with each other over a hot beverage,” added Lead Clinician Darrell Fraize. “It feels like a therapeutic destination again,” Fraize adds. “In the early pandemic, our original spaces just couldn’t safely accommodate all of our staff and members, so hanging out socially as a full community just, unfortunately, wasn’t an option. The new building allows us to all feel connected, daily, again. I think we have all learned the real value of in-person, human connection over the past year, and we are very fortunate to be in a position to offer that to our members.”
The organization recently made the decision to put its five-year anniversary celebration on pause until it is safer for larger groups of people to come together from all over the country. Bailey stated that she and Clinical Coordinator Caitlin Forcier are working to plan a reunion-type of open house event at the new space in the future to host former members, families, and partnering professionals. “Everyone is very comfortable waiting until the time is right,” Bailey added.
About Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions (OT) in Portland, ME is a small, independent, owner-operated program for bright, motivated, emerging adults in the final stages of learning to live on their own. OT supports actual sustainable independent living and autonomy from two city locations. Participants (members) ages 18-29 never live with us; they live in their own apartments, scattered throughout the city. Members’ challenges include anxiety, depression, and executive functioning.