Chatham House: Preparing Students to Live in the World
The Chatham House, a beautiful home located 10 minutes from downtown Chatham, is our most independent residence within the children’s services program, focusing on independent and transitional based skills for a group of 6 non-PWS students. These students have been working diligently to achieve a multitude of goals towards independence – goals which many such students never believed possible to achieve – and yet they are!
Over the past year alone, we have seen our students reach new heights towards their goals of independence – helping them to be better prepared for “life after Latham”. At the Chatham House, which truly is a home to our students, the cooking, grocery shopping and cleaning are all done in collaboration between our students and our staff. As soon as you walk through the doors, the clean, decorated atmosphere let’s you know that each person living there takes pride in their home. As beautiful as the home is, the beautiful landscape of Cape Cod keeps the students out of the house and actively involved in the community for a good deal of their time. All of our Chatham House students have earned the privilege of doing independent walks in the community – independently walking the neighborhood, walking to the local Dunkin’ Donuts for a coffee or to the Chatham Library. Our students are also learning the responsibilities associated with having a cell phone – and paying the bill! Our students are learning to put “needs” before “wants” when managing personal budgets and each student has their own bank account and ATM card. Several of our students have been practicing and preparing to take the local flex bus to independently travel to work sites and local stores. Our students regularly go to the Chatham Community Center to work out, and take full advantage of the beautiful scenery and nature trails that Cape Cod has to offer. However, our students are not limited to enjoying just what the Cape has to offer. This upcoming weekend the Chatham House students and staff are traveling to Boston to visit the Boston Aquarium and enjoy a show at the IMAX theater!
Although the idea of transitioning to adult services and beyond can be a very frightening and intimidating experience for many of our students, we are confident that the work we do at Chatham House is preparing each student to succeed as a responsible, confident and active member of their community.