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New Perspectives - May, 2000 Issue #69 

AIM House
Boulder, Colorado
Daniel Conroy

AIM House is a transitional program offering individualized coaching and mentoring for young adults ages 18 and older who are bright and full of potential, but who feel stuck in the negative patterns that currently inhibit their ability to live independently. They have the capacity for 12 young adults. The program is suitable for those who have already graduated from a special program, and are actively addressing their primary issues. Aim House acts a step-down structured support system for the participants to put into place what they’ve learned, and learn to maintain it over a period of time. It is ideal for kids coming out of emotional growth boarding schools or chemical dependency programs. However, the applicants need to already be clean and sober before they are suitable to participate in the AIM House program.

The “AIM House staff have diverse backgrounds, ranging from clinical psychology and special needs education to television production and comedy writing.” These mentors share the belief that each individual can learn to make choices that will lead to a fulfilling life. They “operate from the heart, offering honest feedback, direction, and structure” to the AIM students who often “lack awareness of how choices impact their lives. They feel like life is happening to them and they don’t know where they fit in.”

This “supportive, positively structured living environment” provides “guidance in realizing personal goals and dreams with practical steps toward achieving them. A core belief of AIM House is that all residents can choose the life they want for themselves. Dreams are attainable if one is willing to work for them.” The mentors work to help the students better understand themselves “while cultivating the awareness that they are ultimately responsible for their own lives.”

Currently the program participants live in a house in Boulder. In August they have leased a majority of the apartments in a small apartment complex. Each apartment will house a few roommates, who will be supervised by a “house manager.” They have a loft space above a music store in Boulder for the group therapy sessions. The program takes advantage of the educational opportunities at the University of Colorado, Naropa Institute, and Front Range Community Colleges, as well as the career-oriented employment opportunities in local businesses.

The two-semester program averages between nine and twelve months. During this time independent life skills are practiced daily. Students also participate in a wilderness program. The AIM program, which is independently owned and operated, does not “work miracles or ‘change’ anyone.” Instead, they provide students “with an amazing opportunity to discover how capable they truly are.”

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