At the Dayle McIntosh Center, the youth transition program is called MY BEST, which stands for Mentoring Youth by Enhancing Successful Transition.
The Youth Outreach Coordinator is Dave Wrathall. In his late twenties, he lost most of his vision and had to learn for himself how to live without sight.
Dave describes the MY BEST program as a fun and safe environment where young consumers learn Independent Living Skills, have peer time with new friends, play games and do fun activities.
Who Can Participate in MY BEST Services
Young people with disabilities, who are in the fourteen through twenty-two age range, and have the potential to live independently are eligible to be participants in the MY BEST program.
For more information about MY BEST call 714.621.3300 or complete the online form.
How Do Youth Get Connected to My Best
Potential consumers are referred to the MY BEST Program by a variety of sources such as special education teachers, case managers from Regional Center, other disability-based organizations, healthcare personnel, family members, and friends. Youth can also decide to refer themselves.
What Happens in the MY BEST Program
Youth become part of the MY BEST program through an intake process. If the young person is under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must be part of the intake interview.
The Youth Outreach Coordinator and the youth, which is called a consumer, work together to develop an independent living plan. This plan includes goals, activities, target dates, and desired outcomes. This plan helps to structure the youth’s involvement in the MY BEST program.
The MY BEST curriculum is designed to improve the self-esteem of youth and to develop basic skills that will be useful for transitioning from public school to young adult-life. The program also provides youth with opportunities for participating in social and recreational activities, developing relationships with peers, and mentoring by successful adults, who are disabled.
Services provided through the MY BEST Program occur in a group setting. Activities are scheduled on the third Saturday of each month and are usually held at the Dayle McIntosh Center (DMC) Anaheim office.
At least one independent living (IL) academy is held during the summer. Staff is also available to present IL training at sites such as group homes or special education classrooms. Some examples of IL training areas include:
Basic Cooking Techniques: Reading recipes, choosing ingredients, using kitchen utensils and appliances, and making simple meals.
Social Skills: Having good hygiene, respecting the personal space of others, observing and interpreting social clues, talking and listening, and practicing good manners.
Self-advocacy: Learning about disability history and developing a sense of disability pride, having realistic expectations, building a personal support system, and asking for what you need.
Dealing with Bullying: Setting personal boundaries, enforcing limits, standing up for others, and reporting mistreatment.
Relationship Building: Knowing the qualities present in a good, healthy relationship so that you can choose good friends and be a good friend.
Safety: Becoming aware of, and using, emergency and prevention procedures for safety at home, in the community, and on the job.
Youth may remain enrolled in the MY BEST program until they “age out,” achieve the goals in their independent Living Plans, move out of the area, or decide that they are no longer interested in receiving assistance through the Dayle McIntosh Center. After leaving the program, all participants are given an opportunity to complete a satisfaction survey to express their opinions about the usefulness of the MY BEST program.
Program Success Story
An eighteen-year-old young man, who has a learning disability and deals with depression, contacted the center to learn how to use the public transportation system. During the intake process, DMC staff learned that the young man’s father had recently died and that his mother was moving out of the area. The consumer indicated that he would be moving in with his grandmother. He shared that he was very lonely and had no friends. The young man was referred to the MY BEST Program and invited to participate in a week long independent living academy.
The consumer indicated that he would not be able to attend, because the trip to and from Anaheim, where the academy was being held, would take hours on the bus. Staff discussed the situation and reached the decision to arrange for private transportation so the youth could participate in the academy. In addition to engaging in lessons about self-image, effective communication, dealing with bullying, developing healthy relationships, teamwork, social skills, and living with a disability, the consumer prepared his lunch every day, made crafts, played games, took part in hands-on learning activities, and went bowling with the group. Most importantly, he made some friends and has become a regular participant in the MY BEST Program.