Real Life Setting

Live in the “Real World”

Our students experience the joys and challenges of everyday living. Living in homes nestled within the historic “Old Town” section of this city, attending college or community college, and working, volunteering, and engaging in social and recreational activities, students experience the challenges of everyday life within this context of “real-life.”

Within this context, the Calo Young Adults student participates in physical, health, wellness and recreational activities as well as psychoeducational groups in a variety of areas including mindfulness, social skills, technology use regulation, interpersonal relationships, life competencies, such as financial skills and grocery shopping, as well as career and work exploration.

The structure at Calo Young Adults is dynamically modified with various levels of support based on each student’s needs. The progression from the initial assessment and orientation period at Calo Young Adults leads to an emphasis on core skills acquisition followed by increasing levels of independence in the transition readiness phase, where a student is capable of living independently.


What do Calo Young Adults students do for fun? Much of the evening and weekend programming is social and recreational in nature. Choices and availability change from time to time, but examples of activities that have occurred fairly often (and depend on the season/weather) include things like bowling, swimming, going to the movies, and attending social gatherings arranged by Calo Young Adults students. Other popular events have included things like skiing, rock climbing, and paintballing. On special occasions trips to Six Flags, Kings Dominion, Hershey Park, Washington D.C., historical sites, and Major League Baseball are planned. These larger trips typically occur between 2 and 4 times per year.

In addition to Calo Young Adults sponsored social and recreational events, students are encouraged to seek out their own entertainment. The Winchester area is rich with activities, ranging from historic to outdoor to the arts (students sometimes take advantage of the shows, concerts, and recitals that are generated by Shenandoah University’s Conservatory). For students interested in fitness and sports, we provide membership to Body Renew Fitness, a state-of-the-art athletic facility, offers a variety of activities including weight training, cardiovascular equipment, aerobic classes, spinning, and personal training. There are also opportunities to access the indoor rock wall as well as arenas for organized sports.

Winchester, Virginia

Sitting at the northernmost corner of Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester offers visitors the chance to explore historical sites, museums, vineyards, farmers’ markets, and tree-lined Old Town streets once wandered by the likes of George Washington and Stonewall Jackson. The fruitful fields of the surrounding Frederick County have earned the area the title “apple capital of the world,” with the city hosting the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival annually for almost a century.

Here is a wonderful video by Robert Peak Design which captures the essence of Winchester. Our campus is featured in the charming footage of the historic neighborhood of Old Town Winchester. The lovely Wyndham George Washington Hotel, which offers a discounted rate to our visiting guests is just blocks from our campus, and just steps from the thriving pedestrian shopping mall rich with coffee shops, boutiques, a variety of restaurants, and performing venues. Also featured in the film is Shenandoah University, where many of our students are enrolled in college.

To learn more about all that our community has to offer, is an excellent place to start.

What Others Say About Us

Educational Consultants

Educational consultants are skilled professionals who provide counseling to help students and families choose a school or program that is a good personal match: one that will foster that student’s academic, social, and emotional growth. Educational consultants can provide the student and family with firsthand knowledge of hundreds of educational, therapeutic and transitional program opportunities.

We work collaboratively with many of the world’s top educational consultants who recognize our longevity, clinical acumen and specialty in the treatment challenges specific to emerging adults. They trust us to provide the highest level of care to their families seeking a clinically rigorous transitional program in a real life setting. Here’s what just a few have to say:

Calo Young Adults sets the standard for quality clinical care among emerging adult programs. Their therapist to client ratio at Calo Young Adults is one of the best among therapeutic programs. It is my first referral choice whenever I have a client with intensive clinical issues.
Calo Young Adults offers a unique blend of clinical support and real world experience in a charming East coast, Mid-Atlantic town. It is a great place for many of my clients to “get a life” while they are getting better.
Calo Young Adults is a program that is dedicated to helping young adults who have clinical challenges and need professional help during their journey of growth. Calo Young Adults has worked with a number of my clients, male and female, who wanted to be in an environment that did not make them feel that they were in a clinical setting. My clients were overjoyed that they could live in a community like anyone else and have the privacy and support and use of the opportunities around them: school, work or volunteer and have intensive therapy.

If we can help you locate an independent educational consultant please contact our Admissions Office or visit the Independent Educational Consultants Association website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students live in houses located within the Winchester City Historic District and can be assigned, depending on enrollment or special needs, to either a single or double room. Each house is within a short walk from our two administrative buildings, Holly House and The Old Post Office, also located in the Historic District and where students meet for both individual sessions and group activities.
The Student Life staff do not live in the houses but are stationed there from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm on week days to work with students, both in formal sessions and during naturally occurring opportunities for developing and refining social skills. In addition to their presence in the house, staff may accompany students on activities, both in the community and those that are planned out of town.
The Student Life staff work most directly with students and spend the most time with them on the practical application of skills related to various functional life challenges.
Overnight staff, who work from 10:00pm in the evening until 8:00am the following morning, can be contacted by phone during those hours in case of an emergency. In the event of an after hours clinical emergency, a student can reach a therapist through our 24 hour on call system.
The key is integration. The Clinical team must prepare the Student Life staff to understand what behaviors to expect from students and how to therapeutically respond to specific types of interactions. A “cookie-cutter” approach does not work with our students since interventions must be tailored to the needs of each individual.

It is the job of Student Life to provide the Clinical team with accurate, daily and up to date information about how students are doing. Are they making progress with functional life skills? Are they avoiding certain tasks in the house? Is there a noticeable difference in a targeted behavior? Armed with this information, the clinicians make judgments regarding how treatment should proceed.

Calo Young Adults students come to us requiring different levels of support. Students who are stable and at a place where they are functioning at a higher level than their peers would meet with their therapist two hours a week for individual therapy, and once a week for a family call. Depending on needs or preference and clinical indication, students may participate in two sixty minute sessions or as many as four thirty minute sessions. Individual work focuses on helping students gain a deeper understanding of their challenges and encourages them to make use of their insight and clinical progress in a practical way.
Parents will participate in weekly calls with you and your therapist. Additionally, during Progress Review Week (PRW), each student’s parents meet with the treatment team to reflect and to measure previous progress toward goals and to establish new goals for the following quarter. This process allows both staff and students alike to celebrate successes and to refocus on areas which need improvement. Also included in the week is a family workshop that provides parents opportunities to explore their family dynamics through didactic presentations and interactive group processes. Time is also included in the schedule for parents to meet with their therapist. The culmination of the PRW is the awards dinner where students are recognized for exemplary behavior demonstrated in our seven honor code areas: Consideration, Respectfulness, Cooperation, Honesty, Fairness, Safety, and Encouragement.
It is not uncommon for students to be outside of their comfort zone while attending Calo YOung Adults. In fact, that is where many students do their best work. Students come to us because of some functional deficit that is interfering with their ability to move on with their lives. It is during those times when a student is struggling (not getting out of bed; not participating in house activities; not completing house chores; not managing conflicts with peers) that we bring the clinical work to where the problem is occurring. That place might be in the kitchen of a student’s house, in the hall outside their room, or at the gym. We offer support in a way that students will benefit most and at a time and at a place where reinforcement is immediately needed and delivered in a thoughtful way that does not create embarrassment for anyone involved.
Students participate in clinical groups designed to address issues associated with:

Affect Regulation
Executive Functioning
Anxiety Management
Recovery – Substance Related and Non-Substance Related

Because all of our students struggle in one or more of these areas, groups sessions are specifically designed to encourage them to work together with peers who have common challenges. Group work also leads students to greater insight into how they present to others, and as a result, encourages them to practice new behaviors and to receive constructive feedback from both group members and a group leader.

Students are expected either to enroll in college classes or to look for work while at Calo Young Adults. In fact, students must engage in some academic or vocational activity in order to progress through the program.
Most of our students attend either Shenandoah University in Winchester or Lord Fairfax Community College, in Middletown, located twenty minutes from Calo Young Adults.
Yes, helping students choose classes or look for work is a joint effort by both the student’s therapist and the Student Life team. The therapist, with input from parents, will work with the student to determine the degree of challenge in an academic class. The Student Life staff will work to prepare students for the next steps: registration and requesting transcripts, if going to school; writing a resume, preparing for an interview, if looking for work.
Calo Young Adults is designed to emulate real-life. We want you to think of your responsibility here as if you had a paying job. You will earn money by participating in the program. The amount you earn is directly related to your level of participation. If you choose not to fully engage in the program, then your pay will be less than the amount you would have earned had you fully participated.
No, unless you want to spend your money on eating at restaurants. Meal planning is part of life skills training. Students and staff work together to plan a menu, make a grocery list, shop for items and prepare meals. Each house has an allowance based on the number of students living in the house. Students are responsible for cooking their own meals and for sharing responsibility for preparing group meals. Our team provides regular training on meal preparation.
We make a distinction between monitoring and distributing medications. The Calo Young Adults Health Services Coordinator works with students on making medical appointments, tracking medication changes, and monitoring medication compliance.
One way we work with students on life skills development is by requiring them to complete classes designed to target certain skill sets. By completing a class, students demonstrate the practical application of the content, for example, turning a weekly menu into a grocery list and ultimately creating a meal.
Students reach Transition status when they are able to demonstrate mastery of certain targeted skill areas related to independent living. Those areas include compliance with program requirements; adherence to the Honor Code; management of medications; participation in academic/vocational activities. Once in transition, students have more responsibility and freedom. They have more control over their schedule and are expected to exercise judgment as if they were living independently. Also during Transition, the curfew restriction is lifted, and students can earn car privileges.
Students are expected to reach Transition status within 3-6 months if enrolled in the 12 Month Track.
In most instances, our students leave the program to enroll in college full time. Some remain in Winchester; others will return to their home town to work or to attend a community college.
Calo Young Adults offers an alumni program called Reaching Beyond. You can think of Reaching Beyond as a graduate program. Students live off campus and attend sessions, classes, groups, and therapy based on an individualized schedule created with The Reaching Beyond Adviser.
Why Calo Young Adults
last modified: July 25th, 2018