Luan’s Story

CORD Success Stories | January 1, 2022

Luan holding diploma

Helping Our Youth
Get Back on Track

Luan was getting into trouble, struggling with ADHD and scared about his future. We put him back on track.

Luan is an 18 year old lifelong resident of Cape Cod. He grew up with four sisters and a non-English speaking single mom. Luan has several disabilities including ADHD, bipolar disorder, a speech impediment and other cognitive processing issues. But when you meet him, you would never know of his struggles.

Luan went to a charter high school in the area and was on an IEP. With his schedule in school, he had too much free time and found himself getting into trouble. It affected his grades and his special education teacher looked for outside resources that could help. His teacher heard about CORD and reached out to see how they could find an internship opportunity to integrate into his schedule. Luan was offered a position to intern at CORD and during his senior year, he spent half days at school and the rest of his time volunteering at CORD.

After graduation, Luan still struggled. He did not know what he wanted to do and had no life goals. He was enrolled in a community college but dropped out a week before the first semester started, scared he would pick the wrong major, and feeling lost. He had hit a brick wall and was stuck not knowing what to do. Due to his speech disability, he was nervous talking to those he did not know well. He decided he didn’t really want to attend college and to instead take up a trade, working full time at a landscaping masonry company.

Luan sought out help from CORD and through the organization’s Independent Living program (IL), he received peer counseling and skills training support he needed to become more confident and develop future goals. “My advocate at CORD helped me cope with my disabilities and life in general,” said Luan. “They gave me a different kind of help than at school as teachers tend to just focus on curriculum and not what’s involved in the outside world.”

“Disabilities really affect how independent a person can be,” says Luan. “I feel like people don’t understand how hard the struggle is and how difficult it is for someone to transition straight from high school at a young age, especially me since I graduated at 17. I was the youngest in my class. I think to have someone that is just not hovering over your shoulder as they are in high school but supporting you to learn how to become independent and making sure that you’re doing everything right and to keep you on track is so important.”

CORD helped Luan transition into adult independence by developing his life skills, encouraging him to go back to college, helping him select and apply to schools and find references. They helped him to manage his own finances and open a bank account. Luan’s advocate also helped him develop life skills not taught in school that a promising student needed to succeed and that his parents were unable to help with due to the language barrier.

“CORD has changed my life,” said Luan.

“CORD has changed my life,” said Luan. “I don’t think I would have applied to colleges and wouldn’t have gotten further. My advocate is basically a second mom to me. She told me that I should attend college and that it would be my best option in case things didn’t work out with my job. She put me in a direction at a time when I needed assistance and guidance. She helps me out with everything that school or my mom couldn’t do since she doesn’t understand English well.”

Luan will be attending Bunker Hill Community College in January 2019 and is putting accommodations in place to ensure he succeeds. He will be moving away from the only home he knows, to Boston. He also has found volunteering with CORD’s Mobile Food Pantry particularly rewarding.