Located in Hartford, Youth Challenge of Connecticut, Inc. offers a two-phase residential program to help men of all ages “adversely affected by substance abuse use or dependency find drug free, productive, and meaningful lives.” In Phase One, newly-sober residents build the foundations of recovery, while the second phase provides sober living for men who wish to continue treatment while rebuilding their lives and working or attending school.
Founded in 1970, YCC is a faith-based residential facility associated with Glory Chapel International Cathedral, a Christian church in Hartford. Executive Director Bishop Raúl González, a graduate of YCC’s recovery program, has expanded the program to include outreach into Hartford’s schools.
Accommodations and Food
Residents live in a pleasant Victorian style home in Hartford near Sigourney Square Park. Phase One treats up to 15 men at a time typically living in double-occupancy rooms, though on occasion four may share a room depending on occupancy. Rooms are furnished with bunk beds and the house is decorated simply.
Television is allowed, though only during staff-designated hours. The house has a weight room and basketball court for use outside of treatment hours in the evenings and on weekends. Residents are usually low-income individuals who apply for EBT cards for public assistance upon entering YCC. All food is purchased using the residents’ cards, and meals are prepared by staff. Meals are basic American-fare with nutritious and filling comfort foods.
Treatment and Staff
Phase One lasts for three months. On a typical day, residents rise at 6 am and complete assigned chores. After breakfast, the day is filled with group therapy and skills classes. Groups discuss topics such as recovery education and relapse prevention. Residents are required to attend 20 hours of group therapy, 20 hours of classes and one individual counseling session each week. Included in those hours are two on-site 12-step meetings.
After the last group session of the day, residents eat dinner and then have time to watch TV or exercise for an hour or two before lights out at 10 pm. On Thursdays, residents go to the local recreation center for swimming and sports. They must also attend church at Glory Cathedral International Chapel three times a week and may be assigned “ministry” or community volunteer work on the weekends. YCC has visiting hours for friends and family on Saturdays from 1 to 4 pm.
While YCC accepts residents struggling with co-occurring disorders, it does not provide psychiatric services. For residents with dual diagnosis, appointments are arranged at two neighboring clinics for medication management and therapy. Groups are led by addiction counselors such as LADCs and staff members are in recovery and working towards certification for addiction counseling.
After completing Phase One, residents can apply for the Phase Two sober living program where they are required to attend four hours of group therapy each week in addition to their school and/or work obligations. Many residents work on obtaining their GED during this phase, and some attend nearby Community Colleges.
YCC is currently developing a computer lab to help residents build their marketable skills and search for jobs. Residents can stay in Phase Two for up to six months. After, a few may stay on for a less rigid sober living track—Phase Three. Clients continue to live in a sober supportive environment, work and/or attend school and contribute 25% of their income to YCC for their room and board.
Youth Challenge of Connecticut relies on donations and funding to make sure that no man is turned away for his inability to pay for services. While the program is faith-based and church attendance is mandatory, YCC’s orientation is non-denominational and uses service commitments and spiritual exploration as a means of building confidence and preventing relapse. With a multi-phase approach to recovery which includes sober and transitional living environments, Youth Challenge Connecticut proves its commitment to evolving its care as the needs of its residents change.
Youth Challenge of Connecticut, Inc.
15-17 May St
Hartford, CT 06105
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