Youth Exploration Life Skills Services

Life Skills services are available to young people ages 16-24 who are still living at home or in stable housing but who are facing issues around addiction, education, employment, social/emotional barriers, lack of sufficient income, pregnancy, or parenting a child themselves.  Through a contract with the Tompkins Department of Social Services, these services are also available to youth living in family foster care.

Maintaining your housing: if you would like help working out housing-related issues with your parents or with partners or friends with whom you live, Life Skills staff can help you through the process of trying to work things out. If you are interested in applying for Section 8 or other housing assistance, we can help you with those processes. If you are in danger of being evicted from your housing, staff can help you address issues with your landlord to see if there is a way to avoid eviction.

Help finding and keeping a job is an important service of Life Skills

Employment & Career Development: We can help you identify your interests, aptitudes, and skills; begin setting career and employment goals; and identify education and training needed to reach goals.  Services include apprenticeships based on your interest area; career exploration tours (informational visits to community work sites of interest to you); and  community work projects where you volunteer at various community non-profits learning about the work of the agency and developing your basic work skills. Check out the list of possible interest areas that you can explore here!

Jobs—through our employment services, staff will help you:

  • find job openings
  • get ready to apply for a job (filling out applications, creating a resume and practicing interviewing)
  • solve issues like transportation, childcare, or even getting clothes for work.
  • through apprenticeships where you can brush up your work skills, develop a good reference, and be paid for your work.

Bottom Line: we can help you look at the big picture—helping to create a career plan and helping you get the resources to reach those career goals. Job site exploration visits, college tours, and resume workshops are a few of the services that are offered.

Education: if you are in school and need help with classwork, getting to school, or with other school issues, the Life Skills staff can help you. Education is key to getting a good job and moving into a career path job. Staff can set up tutoring for you, go with you to speak to teachers or school staff, and can help with school supplies. If you want to re-enter school, we can help you with that process, including dealing with financial issues.

Everything involved with preparing to eventually live on your own: Life Skills staff can help you develop important life skills—making your money stretch to cover your bills, getting enough food and personal supplies, knowing how to cook and do laundry, plus all the rest of what it takes to take care of yourself.

Parenting: are you a parent? Do you need help and support to become a better parent? The Life Skills staff can help you strengthen your skills at raising your child and can help you get the things you need for your child. We provide childcare equipment, parenting supplies, and parent self-care resources. If your family is involved with the Department of Social Services, our staff can help support and advocate for you and your child.

Life Skills staff also offer recreational events such as outdoor activities, arts projects, parent-child activities etc. where you can relax, have fun and releive stress.


Life Skills staff are always available to help you with an issue or talk about what is on your mind.