Exploring Options for Independent Living | The Arc of DC

Exploring Options for Independent Living

Living independently can be both an adventure and a challenge, but knowing what to expect and how to prepare are key to success. For the students of Eastern High School and Ballou High School, exploring options for independent living were the focus of their February and March trips. Exploration began with a visit from the DC Center for Independent Living (CIL), so students could become familiar with the resources the CIL offers. Resources include finding housing options, finding job opportunities, and planning to achieve other life goals.

Eastern High School then took a trip to St. John’s Community Services. St. John’s offered the students a tour of apartments and shared the many resources they offer. The apartments allowed students to see the amenities they could have access to, such as an in-unit washer and dryer as well as on on-site fitness center. Resources offered by St. John’s, such as financial and medical management, allowed students to see that a variety of support is available if needed.

Ballou’s trip was slightly different as the students toured two different apartment complexes, the Vista at Wingate and Park 7. The comparison of different apartment complexes allowed the students to see how pricing structures, amenities, deposit fees, and unit options vary. Having a chance to tour different apartments also prompted many questions and concerns from the students, such as “Are we allowed to have pets in the apartments?” and “Why are the closets so small?”

Both trips offered students a realistic view of the living options they can pursue. They gained a better understanding of what may be within their financial means as well as which options may best provide for their personal needs. The skills obtained from these experiences will help the students to properly research the living opportunities they pursue, increasing their independence further.