Youth Graduate from Transition to Work Program

Categories: Events, News, Programs, Success Stories

FREE LF1Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) an agency that supports individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury throughout Long Island,Queens and New York City and Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York, one of the largest and most respected agencies providing critical programs and services to children, families and adults with developmental disabilities in New York City and across Long Island celebrated the “graduation” of four young men from FREE’s Transition to Work program, a collaborative venture between the two agencies.

“We are proud to partner with Little Flower on a job development skills program for youth as they transition to the world of work,” said Robert S. Budd, CEO, FREE. We are excited about continuing our collaboration with Little Flower and developing new opportunities to sustain the program and help more youth succeed.”

Work experience is a critical component of preparing youth for transition to adulthood.  The collaboration between FREE and Little Flower has enabled 20 youth from the Residential Treatment Center to gain valuable hands-on work experience in a safe and friendly environment.  After completing the ten week transition to employment workshop, four Little Flower youth secured internships at FREE’s Saddle Rock Ranch in Middle Island, NY.  The interns benefited by gaining job readiness skills that employers look for in entry level workers such as communication, teamwork, adaptability, problem solving, and time management.

“When work experiences are part of a training program that links knowledge gained at the work site with a planned program of study the youth learn more and are more likely to retain what they learn,” said Monroe Hale, Assistant Executive Director of the Residential Treatment Center at Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York.

At a graduation ceremony on October 26, 2015 at Saddle Rock Ranch, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker presented the youth with certificates of recognition. The youth came away with tangible occupational skills in construction, maintenance, property management, animal care, agricultural and the culinary arts. The Transition to Work Program was made possible by a grant from the Long Island Community Foundation.

“It is important for our young people to have opportunities like this so that they can establish a work history and make connections with employers that can aid them in future job searches while they are still in care,” said Corinne Hammons, Executive Director, Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York.  “The collaboration between FREE and Little Flower has opened up opportunities for our youth to explore their interests and we look forward to continuing the partnership for many years to come.”

About Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE)

Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) founded in 1977 and headquartered in Old Bethpage, benefits and proudly supports more than 4,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury. It is the mission of FREE to help individuals of all abilities realize their full potential. FREE provides a diverse array of supports and services including: housing, recovery services, transition to work, employment, day, community and family services, respite, crisis services, education and after-school support, primary and specialty health care and advocacy. For more information, please call 516-870-7000 or visit

About Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York

For over 85 years Little Flower has been guided by the mission to provide hope and help to thousands of people every year. In 2014 alone the agency managed the successful adoption of 60 children into new families, served over 900 children in loving foster families, cared for 137 children in the Residential Treatment and Respite Centers, helped 132 children return to their own families, assisted 44 young adults to begin life on their own, and helped over 350 adults with developmental disabilities to lead more rewarding lives.  For more information, please visit