In partnership with Outside In, Pacific University School of Occupational Therapy and two students as a part of their Innovative Practice Project (IPP) began Project SustAIn a program in 2008. Project SustAIn was a renewed effort to continue a gardening program initiated at Outside In’s Education Resource Center by one of the Urban Education teachers (see Figure 1 for an illustration of Project SustAIn: Program Development and Partnership). Project SustAIn was initially designed to create vocational job opportunities and attain educational credits for the homeless youth while collaborating with occupational therapy to develop work and vocational skills through the therapeutic process of gardening; these skills included personal goal development and planning, time management, professional behavior and interview skills training.
Through continued partnership on the behalf of the original 2008 occupational therapy students (currently practicing occupational therapists), Pacific University, and Outside In’s Urban Ed program, Project SustAIn was expanded in the Winter of 2010 by two additional occupational therapy students as a part of their IPP to encompass a new tract for independent living and transitional skill development as well as grow in areas of professional and organizational collaboration to more fully meet the needs of Portland’s homeless youth population. This document describes the expansion and growth of Project SustAIn including: a background and literature search of adolescent development in addition to theory and the implications for transition into adulthood for the homeless youth at Outside In; an account of actions and methodologies of Project SustAIn 2010; and a discussion and summary of outcomes, perceived benefits and suggestions for future program development and collaboration.
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