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#THCTestimony: Tony & Alexander

Before Tony and Alexander came to the Trent Hill Center, the brothers lived in a camper without running water, electricity, or access to food. Not only were they not allowed to keep food in their camper; they also had to get permission to eat from their stepfather, who stayed in a camper next door with the boys’ mother.

Over the past year and a half at THC, the two have learned that meals (and snacks!) are never in question. They’ve also blossomed into resident culinary artists, often volunteering to cook meals for the entire home.

Tony has been working particularly closely with Trent Hill Center’s Independent Living Skills Case Manager to establish a plan to achieve this dream. The first step in this plan was to secure employment in the restaurant industry, which THC’s ILS CM assisted with by connecting Tony with a local restaurateur, who hired him as grill cook. Since helping him land this job, THC’s ILS CM has continued to provide support, connections, and direction to Tony in his pursuit of a professional culinary career.

Simultaneously, the two have worked closely to get Tony back on track to earn his high school diploma. Prior to this effort, he was so behind in his academics that school personnel and case managers alike were doubtful that he would graduate at all. Now, Tony and THC’s ILS CM are in conversation about post-secondary education plans, which he envisions will entail trade school, followed by culinary school.

In the meantime, the two are working together to complete other independent living objectives, such as earning a driver’s license and acquiring financial literacy acumen and practices. THC’s ILS CM has been integral in coordinating with a local driver training service to schedule driving sessions for Tony and other residents, many of which have already obtained their permits and will earn their license upon passing the driving test. Additionally, THC’s ILS CM has overseen Tony’s participation in several financial literacy workshops and maintained regular communication with him about budgeting and saving–particularly as he becomes accustomed to earning income! Comments from Tony’s employer speak to his work ethic, as well as the influence of THC’s ILS CM: “He has become an integral part of our restaurant. Accuracy, speed, and commitment are the qualities that have led to his success. I’m proud he is a part of our team.”

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