What We Do

Residential Programs

Regardless of how a child or young woman enters the Vista Maria Campus, our first and main goal is to provide healing and hope through education, treatment and empowerment.  Vista Maria’s specialized intensive residential treatment programs for young women and girls are operated from our 37-acre Dearborn Heights campus in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Care Management Organizations and the court system.

Participants in the treatment programs have access to support services including physical and mental health services, an on-site junior and senior high school operated by the Clara B. Ford Academy, a large cafeteria, recreational facilities, meeting rooms, a chapel, and administrative offices.

Some young women and girls have been trafficked, some have harmed themselves, some were harmed by others.  All are looking for hope, security and a path forward.

For more information about our residential treatment programs please contact our Intake Department at (313) 271-3050 x360 or via email at intake@vistamaria.org.


Shepherd Hall Transitional Hall Living Program

Vista Maria’s Shepherd Hall Transitional Living Program serves young women between the ages of 18 and 24, who are homeless or have recently aged out of the foster care system.  It is a supportive, affordable, independent living environment where young women can begin to achieve the personal and financial independence, they need to launch their path to success. Over the course of the 12-18-month program, residents have Vista Maria’s many educational and career-focused opportunities at their disposal including:

  • Earning a high school diploma
  • Creating a post-secondary and vocational educational plan
  • Budgeting and banking
  • Cooking, nutrition, life skills
  • Relationship building skills
  • Physical and mental health support
  • Resume and application assistance
  • Support in obtaining employment

For more information, please contact Sharon Kurc at skurc@vistamaria.org.




Myriam Hall Transitional Living Program

Vista Maria’s Myriam Hall program provides similar services to the Shepherd Hall Transitional Living program but serves younger women between the ages of 16 and 19.  Vista Maria provides counsel to young women that need to transition into independent living in a secure, encouraging, supportive and age appropriate environment.

  • Support in Obtaining Employment
  • Transportation Assistance
  • Financial and Life Skills

Foster Care and Adoption

There are over 12,000 children in the foster care system in Michigan. You may not know who they are, but you see them every day: in the grocery store, at a bus stop, playing in the neighbor’s yard. They are just kids.


However, they are kids who have also suffered the pain of abuse and neglect, which may leave them with scars, both on the surface and deep within. These kids need compassionate adults who are willing to open their homes and help them heal. They need someone to stand by them, to support them in their most vulnerable moments, and protect them when they are scared. They need to have someone look into their eyes and see that they are worth loving, and they are worth saving. They need you.


It takes a community of caring adults to be the difference between a child’s heartache and a child’s happiness. Together we can help and heal our children so that they can not only see, but also feel, that they are loved.


Vista Maria offers a continuum of assistance with foster care and adoption services and there are many ways for you to help us to bring hope and security to children. From helping to raise awareness or donating time or resources, to opening your heart and home to a foster child we can help you every step along the way.


Contact us and learn more at 313-240-4355 or at fostercare@vistamaria.org.

Community Independent Living/Independent Living Plus

The Independent Living and Independent Living Plus (IL/ILP) Programs are designed to create self-reliant young adults and equip them with life skills essential to successful transition from placement to independent community life.  The programs are designed for youth ages 16 through 19 who are leaving residential treatment or foster care.  Youth can remain in the IL/ILP program for six months to one year and both the youth and the host home when appropriate, receive between 1 and 4 contacts a month and have access to support 24/7.


Host homes are evaluated for their ability to provide a safe, warm and suitable home environment, a private bedroom for the youth and educational and recreational opportunities nearby.


Youth entering the program must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be leaving residential foster care and cannot return home
  • Cannot be placed into a foster family home
  • Adoption is not planned
  • Have demonstrated the will and capacity to learn independent living skills in a supervised IL/ILP Program


For more information, contact us at (313)-220-8916 or email at msmith3@vistamaria.org

Independent Growth and Development

Career Pathways

Vista Maria’s cornerstone workforce development program, Career Pathways is designed to prepare high school students, for entering the workforce and equipping them with the skills to maintain employment.  The curriculum is aligned with 21st Century Skills development and informed by the Transition to Independence Plan (TIP) ™, which is a focused, evidence-based model for improving outcomes for at-risk youth with emotional and behavioral difficulties.  The Career Pathways program consists of three focus areas:  Workforce Readiness, Career Exploration and Career Action Planning and the program is organized in three levels of development and activities.  Vista Maria’s ultimate goal is to offer young people a process to follow that will help them transition into an independent, productive members of the community.


Journey to Success

Vista Maria’s Journey to Success (JTS) program is an after-school program designed to divert youth and young adults, ages 7-19, from unsafe, unhealthy activities and environments and provide a variety of positive and engaging activities that develop life skills, increase emotional and social intelligence, promote academic and career success and build supportive adult relationships.  JTS impacts at-risk youth in service communities characterized by higher than normal high school dropout rates. Our goal is to improve attendance and academic performance.

Community Based Counseling

A Community Based Counselor builds relationships with youth to learn their interests, goals and aspirations and encourage them to become active in after school activities. The counselor conducts regular check-in sessions through brief one-on-one encounters.  These relationships provide opportunities for more in depth conversations providing youth a space to seek guidance and support in dealing with challenges, issues or concerns the youth may be experiencing. These sessions will help guide recommendations for involvement in group sessions or more structured individual sessions.


DREAM Mentoring Program

Dreams Realized through Education and Mentoring (DREAM) is a site-based mentoring program that pairs students with caring adult mentors who assist them in reaching their full emotional, social and academic potential.  Mentors provide one-on-one support and guidance to help students improve in school, explore careers and plan for education and/or training after high school.  Guest speakers representing the diversity in professions and careers provide career track insights and share their experiences in their field. DREAM participants receive college exposure through attending college fairs, tours and events. Students receive guidance through the college application submission process, and scholarship application process through workshops that guide students through the financial aid process and assist students as they prepare for interviews, improve their financial literacy and plan for their college future.


Afterschool Activities Program

The Vista Maria Afterschool Activities Program provides a variety of arts and culture, academic enrichment, and physical fitness activities.  Student and parent input inform the activities provided through the afterschool program.  Each semester new courses and programs are offered. Our goal is to provide rich programming that includes a combination of physical activities, STEM and arts & literature offerings to provide highly engaging options that meet a range of youth interests.


Expressive Therapies

The Expressive Therapy (ET) program helps adolescent girls and youth in our community programs develop new skills. ET provides many therapeutic benefits not found in traditional therapy such as self-expression, active participation, imagination, and mind-body connection.  The program design includes weekly sessions, pop up activities, peer and family showcases, and fieldtrips that help youth who may have difficulty expressing themselves verbally, who are experiencing trust issues, or lack a sense of belonging.  The therapy also helps them work through their unresolved grief and trauma so that they can concentrate on their future.

Youth that have participated in these programs have increased their GPA on average of .5. In addition, 100% of the youth serviced through these programs have a functioning resume, a better understanding of finances, and have explored careers pathways based on their areas of interest.

After filling out the enrollment form, please send it to JTSEnrollment@VistaMaria.org


Fighting Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is where people profit from the control and exploitation of others and it is a $150 billion industry in the United States.


Vista Maria is on the forefront of advocating for the survivors of trafficking and against the perpetrators of this heinous crime and form of modern-day slavery.


Perpetrators prey on the weak including teens that have dropped out of school, are in the foster care system or have run away from home. Human trafficking is a highly profitable and low risk crime. Traffickers target anyone, including children in their own communities and sometimes their own family members.


Vista Maria provides trainings and education to organizations such as medical providers, teachers, faith-based groups and community organizations to raise awareness and help people to identify potential trafficking victims. The organization provides a full continuum of care to address the unique needs of young trafficking victims from its residential services to health and wellness and foster care when appropriate.


As important as restoring the health and welfare of trafficking survivors, is the need to advocate for changes to existing laws at all levels of government.  Vista Maria is active with the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force and frequently testifies at both the state and federal level for more stringent laws to protect young women and children.


A girl needs hope and a life free from exploitation.  Vista Maria’s mission is to help adolescent females recognize their worth and work toward a happy and healthy future.

Our Schools

Education is power.  The Vista Maria campus is home to two charter schools, Clara B. Ford Academy and Vista Meadows Academy.

Clara B. Ford Academy offers year-round middle and high school education to girls receiving treatment in our residential programs. Managed by CS Partners, the charter school features small classroom sizes, which allows for one-on-one teaching and ensures that special attention is paid to both the academic and treatments plans of each girl.

To learn more about Clara B. Ford Academy, please visit: http://www.cbfacademy.com/


Vista Meadows Academy offers quality, alternative high school education to at-risk youth from the community with a focus on credit recovery high school graduation.  Vista Meadows Academy’s mission is to provide a quality education through shared responsibility in a safe supportive environment for all students to meet the challenges of a global society.

To learn more about Vista Meadows Academy, please click http://www.vistameadowspsa.com/