A message for prospective members from Tracy Bailey, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Onward Transitions

Thank you for your interest in Onward Transitions and Portland, Maine

Congratulations on your hard work, and your initiative moving forward towards true independence and autonomy. The ridiculous phrase "when I was you're age"  can be the end of a well meaning conversation. The world is changing. I'm happy you've found us. 

Dr. Jeffrey Arnett, a developmental psychologist, coined the term emerging adulthood fairly recently to describe the stage of life that typically occurs between eighteen and twenty-nine years. Our model was inspired by his findings and ongoing research and is designed to to support you on your individual journey. In his book Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens Through the Twenties Dr. Arnett shares that there does appear to be consensus regarding when one has reached adulthood.  Most specifically, we support you in the following:

  1. Accepting responsibility for oneself and one's actions
  2. Making independent decisions
  3. Becoming financially independent

What do you think? What are you looking for?

This is a big decision.  You have options. There are scores of "programs" for young adults. We are not a program. We are a service... a comprehensive array of services, supports and options  to encourage you and  support you as you live independently and enjoy the benefits of a peer group of like minded very bright (and vulnerable ) young adults.  An instant supportive peer group. We have a superior staff trained to address the unique challenges for young adults dealing with  social anxiety, depression, and a pervasive sense of "not being enough." Many of our members have been bullied and felt very alone in the past.  But now, here we play board games. We climb. We cook. We love Friday night dinner out! Some of us play Pokemon Go and Settlers of Catan (not me). The bluetooth speakers in our locations play a variety of musical favorites hand-picked by our members. Some have even played impromptu live shows for us. Our members choose to go to work, or to school, or to volunteer, and live social lives while they strive to keep things in balance. 

Our team has worked with emerging adults for many years in wilderness, residential, therapeutic and independent living settings. We have heard first-hand how it feels.  We appreciate that  you have your own unique history, strengths and challenges.  We understand (as much as we possibly can) how important this next step is for you. I encourage you to give me a call to set up a phone or video session so we can learn more about each other and kick off the process to see if Onward Transitions and Portland, Maine could be life changing for you. 

 If our introductory conversation goes well and we decide to move forward, we'll ask you to complete an online application and submit release forms to speak with your family, and current and past providers, if any. Our clinical department will speak with you and those who know you best for their insight.  We'll also ask you to complete a substance use/lifestyle survey. We practice harm reduction in all areas at Onward Transitions (electronics, screens, caffeine and other lifestyle choices as well.) Marijuana is legal to possess in Portland (you can't legally buy it without a medical card, though). If substance abuse is an issue for you, we're going to consider that very carefully and might determine we are not a good fit for you. There are many fine programs with specific specialties, particularly for substance dependence and recovery.

If we all agree that Onward Transitions could be a good fit, we'll schedule a visit for you to come to Portland for a personal introduction, a tour of the city, and a visit to the Pine House and the Hay Loft to meet our members and staff.  Depending on the day of week, their class and work schedules, you could meet a few, or a whole bunch. Everyone has their own schedule based on their personal goals. 

Onward Transitions is for you, now what?

If an invitation to enroll is extended and you accept, you'll work with Darrell, your family and the clinical team to develop your custom Family Agreement.  We'll work with you to help you locate an apartment and set up your new home in Portland.  Your family will be signing an independent lease on the apartment you choose based on personal preferences and resources. We find that many of our members choose to stay in their apartment well beyond the year or so they work with us at OT.  We don't own apartments, or provide housing. You will never live with us... You bring your phone, your car, your pet, whatever you want,  as long as your family supports it. You can visit home when every your want. Again, that's a family decision, for as long as they are supporting you financially.  

Our admissions process is thorough. We make every effort to get to know you and to be sure that a move to Portland and the level of support we provide is appropriate.  We are very protective of our community and  respect the hard work in which we are all engaged supporting our members as they become independent, autonomous young adults.  I'll ask you, as I do every potential member and employee, to commit to practicing kindness and tolerance at the Pine House, the Hay Loft and out in the community at work and play. 

Please call or text me  207-712-1181 or email at tracy@onwardtransitions.com to set up an appointment to introduce ourselves. 

Tuition for Onward Transitions includes weekly individual therapy, group therapy, and family work with a master's level therapist, multiple group sessions weekly, all coaching sessions with our mentoring staff including the program director, outreach and wellness coordinator, apartment consultations, job-site visits, educational coaching, budgeting, scheduled special weekend activities, indoor climbing, Friday night dinner out, drop-in access to and brunch and dinner at the Pine House and events and appointments at the Hay Loft 6 days a week.  We are closed on Sunday, and we have 24 hour administrative and therapeutic on-call. 

Again, thanks for your interest! I look forward to speaking with you.  Please be sure to check us out on FB and Instagram!


Tracy Bailey
Executive Director



Apply Here. 

Our mailing  address:
PO Box 738
Portland, ME 04104

The Hay Loft- for GPS only- we do not receive mail here. 
594 Congress St. 
Portland, ME 04102

The Pine House address is not published out of respect for our members' confidentiality. 


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