Avis & Mark Ridley-Thomas Life Learning Center
Created in 1992, the Life Learning Center (LLC) is designed for transition-age youth, ages 16-25, who qualify for mental health services and need assistance with school, employment, or community functioning. In 2014 it was named the Avis & Mark Ridley-Thomas Life Learning Center in honor of two prominent leaders who proactively support coalition building, social justice, empowerment, and non-violent solutions. LLC is funded through a cooperative contract with the California Department of Rehabilitation and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Currently serving about 100 participants every year, LLC’s goal is to empower young people to pursue and maintain the highest possible level of independent living through these services:
Mental Health Services – LLC provides participant-driven, culturally sensitive, and effective mental health and related services in an atmosphere that fosters emotional and social growth. Services are provided individually, in groups, and engage families, when appropriate, in a variety of settings, including the Clinic, at home, at school, or in the community. Psychiatric services are also available, as needed.
Work Adjustment – Staff members assist participants to understand the meaning, value, and demands of work. LLC uses a curriculum that helps participants develop interpersonal, communication, functional, and job preparation skills. Work Adjustment covers three areas: Functional Skills Development, Job Search, and Work Maturity.
Employment Services – LLC helps participants identify, obtain, and maintain employment appropriate to their abilities, needs, and desires. As a team, both staff member and participant seek employment opportunities that provide reasonable accommodations for the participant, based on assessments, documentation, and observation. Employment Services also includes job seeking skills, interview training, and job maintenance support.
Case Management – Family Advocates provide case management to assist participants with obtaining other communnity resources. Participants may also receive assistance with acquiring identification cards, public benefits, and housing. When appropriate, services will include support to transition into an adult system of mental health care.
Life Skills Development – Staff members coordinate a variety of community-based, resiliency-focused experiences to enhance participants’ self-sufficiency or self-regulation. These may include mobility and destination training, budgeting, social skills, coping skills, stability of living arrangement, symptom management, and daily living skills, such as grocery shopping and clothing assistance.
Substance Abuse Services – LLC provides individual and group counseling to participants struggling with drug or alcohol issues. It aims to encourage participants to develop the skills and relationships needed to maintain sobriety and to decrease functional impairments caused by substance abuse.
Full-Service Partnership (FSP) Services – Participants may receive assistance with transportation, food, daily living supplies, medication, educational opportunities, and help to secure financial and health benefits for which they are eligible.