Journey to Self-Sufficiency

Journey to Self-Sufficiency (JTS)

There are five stages on the Journey to Self-Sufficiency. These stages are important steps which ultimately lead to stable housing for the long term.

Stage 1: Basic Needs Support

Those who are homeless face a number of barriers when it comes to meeting basic needs. This is why Basic Needs Support is the first stage in the Journey to Self-Sufficiency (JTS). Upon intake, youth meet with a StandUp for Kids mentor and, over a hot meal, assess immediate needs. These needs can include obtaining state issued identification, medical or dental care, enrollment into social services programs, acquiring a phone, and more. Our mentors provide youth with the information, tools, and assistance to begin their journey.

Stage 2: Employment Readiness Preparation

Once the basic needs of the youth are met, mentors then work with the youth to prepare for their job search. In this second stage, mentors guide the youth to identify short- and long-term goals, empowering them to be in control of their future. Meaningful goals help youth gain direction, determine their values, and give them a sense of purpose. These goals are not just career based, but include personal goals like family, leisure, physical achievements, and personality.

After setting goals, focus shifts to the job search. Mentors assist with resume development, explain job listings and terminology, describe, and assist in the application process, and advise on how to follow up on the status of an application. Youth are even provided with interview grooming tips and wardrobe assistance from local organizations.

Stage 3: Employment Sustainability Training

Now that the youth has applied for positions, the next stage covers how to land and keep a job. Resources for interview skills are reviewed and then practiced with at least two mock interviews conducted. This practice enables youth to gain confidence in their ability to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Once a job is secured, StandUp for Kids mentors continue the training by coaching youth on how to retain their job. Mentors review what it is to have a good work ethic, how to effectively manage time, and how utilizing a weekly schedule can help establish priorities and assist in meeting goals.

Stage 4: Financial Awareness Training

An important part of self-sufficiency is becoming financially responsible. In this stage, mentors provide guidance on the importance of a budget, how to create one and how to effectively follow it. They also provide material regarding paychecks, how to read and understand them.

Stage 5: Housing

In this final stage, youth receive direction in finding housing. The StandUp for Kids mentor guides youth in determining what kind of housing they desire and can afford, how to search for housing, and how to compromise needs versus wants when it comes to choosing a home. This stage is complete when a youth has successfully found and moved into permanent housing.


Youth are considered to have graduated from the JTS program when they have successfully completed all the training and achieved the desired outcomes. A series of worksheets are provided to reinforce what the mentee has learned while assuring the mentor that they have successfully prepared the youth to live independently.

To learn more about the Journey to Self-Sufficiency program, email us at [email protected]