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The STRIVE Program was originally opened in 2008 with the intent of providing educational, vocational, recreational, clinical and other independent living skills to the older youth involved with the Department of Youth Services. Since then, it has become a treatment program in addition to a community-based program.

STRIVE is a twelve bed, Track 1 / Track 2 program that provides services to committed youth typically ages 16 to 21. The program continues to be a unique model of service, placing youth involved with treatment alongside those in the community-based program. The program has a licensed mental health clinician, a licensed social worker, and a master’s level clinician, all of whom provide clinical services to all the youth at STRIVE. Along with the clinical department, the program has an in-house school that has two licensed teachers and, based on need, an SEIS teacher as well as a Title 1 reading specialist.

STRIVE’s goal is to help the youth in our care successfully reintegrate into the community. In order to remove barriers on their journey home, we help them gather all of their important documents during their time with us, such as their birth certificates, social security cards, state IDs, and driver’s licenses.

Track 1 youth are individuals who are working on their treatment goals. Sometimes these youth are transitioning from a more secure facility once they have made successful progress on their treatment goals. Other youth on Track 1 will begin their treatment and end their treatment at STRIVE. Track 1 youth are provided with in-house schooling where they work with the teachers on their educational goals. Every youth has their own unique plan and the teachers work diligently with the youth to achieve their goals, whether it is to complete their HiSET, high school diploma, college courses, or vocational readiness. In addition to working on their education, Track 1 youth are expected to participate in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) groups, substance abuse groups, and other clinical groups on a weekly basis. These youth will also be provided weekly one on one therapy with their assigned clinician. Treatment meetings are held monthly with the youth’s casework team and family to talk about their treatment progress.

Track 2 youth are individuals who are working on their life skills, career readiness, and education while having access to the community. These youth can go to school in the community, get jobs, and have unsupervised time in the community. These youth are at STRIVE to help prepare themselves for independence in the community. They will work with the Life and Career Coach on an individualized daily schedule, their education goals, job readiness, and life skills. Track 2 youth will complete a life skills assessment to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of interest. Some of the life skills that these youth work on are budgeting, time management, and self-care. Many of these youth do not have homes waiting, so they stay at STRIVE to save money and secure housing.

Another goal of the program is to help provide positive recreational activities for the residents. This structured free time provides the residents with the opportunity to engage in crime free recreation. The program resources include attending the Lowell YMCA and UTEC. The Lowell YMCA provides memberships to all residents at the program and allows them to participate in the many facets of their positive community. UTEC is a teen drop-in recreational center that encourages music, technology, athletics, culinary, and cultural activities.

Ashley Turcotte
978-454-3006 x12


Old Colony YMCA STRIVE Program

785 Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01854