School, even on it’s own, has always presented major social, physical and intellectual challenges for students but for Taewon Kook, it became far more than that. He moved to Canada from South Korea as a teenager, where he found it difficult to adapt to an entirely different culture and learn a new language – all while living with cerebral palsy. He did not feel entitled to services and wasn’t sure of everything that was available to him. However, he soon found a range of service that truly provided him with what he needed.
The Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia’s Navigator program helped Taewon (known to his friends as Ty) connect with resources, and he found new companions through the CPABC’s Youth Without Limits peer group. “I met Lauren, Stacey, as well as Spring and Harry; they are my friends and my main social circle,” Ty says.
Lack of supports for aging-out youth
For youths with disabilities like Ty, who receive streamlined support through Children’s Services as children and adolescents, it can be hard to transition to adulthood. Upon reaching the age of maturity, youth struggle to find the same levels of support through complex social services and government departments. To address the lack of support for aging-out youth, the CPABC Navigator program offers referrals and specialized information to help young adults connect with the full range of services and resources they need.
As a newcomer and a teenager, Ty was doubly challenged to access services in a strange environment and establish himself as an independent adult. Although he is a university graduate, life for Ty isn’t always easy. “I feel that my life is incomplete in some ways as I still live with my family and I am looking for housing and long-term employment,” Ty says. “I have had difficulty finding employment and I am trying to work with Work BC.”
The Navigator program kicked in for Ty while he was at school and after graduation. A CPABC worker referred him to employment and housing resources, volunteer opportunities, funding, social programs and in-house adapted recreation programs. Ty accessed other CPABC programs geared towards youth, social connection, and a well-rounded life. Taewon found his new friends with the help of these programs and so can you.
Helping others reach success
Despite the barriers he encountered, Ty has blossomed in Canada and envisions himself contributing to society through finding long-term employment in the non-profit sector. He wants to help people with disabilities reach success, and live the Life Without Limits he strives for himself. Ty’s dedication and determination will go a long way towards this goal and his own well-deserved success.
The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC (CPABC) Navigator For Youth in Transition to Adult Services is here to help you connect with the services they need through our specialized information and referral resource. The Navigator service is available for youth aged 14 to 25, their parents and members of their Transition Support Teams. To access this service, call the CPABC office at 604 408 9484, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn how you can benefit from the Youth Navigator Program