Shifting Gears

Learning to drive is a rite of passage for many teenagers, a major step toward self-sufficiency. The girls at Ashley House, our Transitional Living program in Springfield, are as eager as any teenager to reach this milestone.
When all ten residents wanted to take the written test for a driving permit, the staff recommended forming a study group.  Piper, though, said, “I can do it on my own. I’ll just take the test until I pass.” She took the test and failed. Twice.
It is hard to ask for help, and harder for those who have been let down by life. “Piper is like a lot of our clients,” explained Alisa Griffiths, the director of Ashley House. “She is so insecure about her abilities that she doesn’t want to ask for help. She tries to go solo and becomes frustrated if she doesn’t do well.”
To prove a point, three staff members took the written test. Then they shared their scores, which were adequate but not remarkable, with Piper. “Well, maybe I should study the book, a little,” Piper said, and even agreed to collaborate on study sessions.
In a few weeks, all ten Ashley House girls earned their permits.