Empowering Independence: James’ Journey to the Big Screen Solo

James, a young person we support at Birch’s 52nd Street residence, has achieved another personal goal of his goal of traveling to the movies independently!  

James voiced his desire to Birch staff to travel independently, a goal he first achieved last year and continues to practice. The next milestone he set his sights on was to be able to go to the movies completely by himself, something he had wished to do for a long time.

“This was the first time ever, and it felt great,” said James. “I came up with where I wanted to go and what movie I wanted to see.” 

Although James travels to his day habilitation program and back home on his own, he has never been to the movies alone. Birch Family Services Community Services staff, committed to supporting individuals at home and in the community to learn skills that help them reach their fullest potential and increase their independence, worked with James to achieve his goal. When James told staff about his desire to see a movie at the theater, they immediately started helping James establish a plan.  

“We helped James identify the amount of money he would need for snacks and tickets,” said Behavioral Interventional Specialist Jennifer Weltner. “Otherwise, this was completely his idea.” 

Assisted by Birch staff members, James meticulously planned his journey from his home in Brooklyn to the movie theater in Union Square He carefully selected his route, considering factors like traffic and closures, and ensured staff were aware of his travel changes. Not only did James pick his destination and figure out how to get there, but he recognized an opportunity to save some money along the way.  

“He actually pointed out to us that it was cheaper to go on Discount Tuesday’s,” said Jennifer. 

James has seen two movies on his own so far, and plans on seeing more. For his next movie, he wants to travel to the movie theatre in Times Square.  

“It’s a really important step toward independence to learn and want to do things on your own,” said Jennifer. “So, it’s exciting to see James achieve the goals that he sets for himself and I’m always happy to see how excited he is and hear how his experiences went.” 

Branching out beyond visiting movie theatres, James also plans on traveling to other locations in the city such as Coney Island, Prospect Park, and Central Park. 

“It’s a brand-new beginning for me,” said James. “I am going to be doing a lot of new things this year.”