Imagine you are 18 or 22 years old and you are leaving the children’s home. A place where you never had to pay rent, you used to get three to five meals every day, in which there were relatively strict rules. Suddenly you depend on yourself, on experiences you don’t have, on competencies that almost no one has in his twenties. It is expected that you will need help at least for the first years.
The first way to help you is to give you another four or five years of children’s home life. Again a relatively firm order, again sufficient care and strict rules. But you are different, at eighteen, at twenty, at twenty-two you want to be yourself, make your own decisions, try your ways. And even if you don’t want independence yet, another children’s home-like living will not prepare you for adult life – you probably need something else.
In Symbios, this “something else” means two things: stability on one side and taking the risks of life on the other. Stability is an essential part of our approach. Every life step we take requires one foot to stand firmly on the ground, allowing us to step forward. Stability in the Symbios project means I have a place to live for four to five years. Yes, I have to pay rent, but if I pay and follow the other four rules, I can not be excluded.
Perhaps in an even more important sense, stability means relationships. In our case, it is a gradually strengthening relationship with a flatmate student and mentors. However, the mentors are not here to do anything for me, they can help me find a way when I don’t know what to do and accompany me on it. They are available, for example, when I’m trying to find a job, in an effort to graduate from high school or college, with a conflict with a flatmate, etc. We believe these relationships are the most important thing each of us needs. Stability of housing, stability of relationships.
Just stability alone is not enough. Every step we take in our lives also requires the courage not to stand on the ground with one foot, but to move on. Symbios also emphasizes one leg, so to speak, “in the air”. That is why we do not deal with anything for young adults automatically, but rather give them the courage to solve them by themselves.
Imagining the transition to adulthood as a race, we do not strive to bring young adults to the finish. We try to run by them (or behind), knowing that we are here for them if they need assistance. And this includes the willingness and strength to bear their small, medium, or even large failures.