When Chase Valiant graduated from Nova Scotia Community College on Tuesday, one of the people attending was Keith Gelhorn, who had been mentoring him for years.
Gelhorn is an entrepreneur and social worker whose company, ADDvocacy, helps young people with attention deficit disorder develop methods to cope with their affliction. He began working with Valiant several years ago and beams with pride when talking about the young man’s progress — both academic and personal.
“Keith was always my mentor,” said Valiant, 22, in an interview last week. “When I dropped out and stopped going to class, he just kept calling me and calling me, getting me to pay attention to him.”
Gelhorn and his ADDvocacy program help 16-39-year-olds like Valiant adopt the life skills they need to thrive. Now he’s adapting the program to a digital service called ADDtext that lets ADD sufferers and others text back and forth with “peer coaches” at any time to instill the same sorts of lessons.
The product is no longer just for people with ADD or ADHD but is designed to help any young person learn “executive function skills” like time management, emotional management or goal-setting.
He’s now testing ADDtext with dozens of users. Once the product is fully launched in the late summer, users will pay $15 a month and be linked up with a peer coach — someone who has lived through the same difficulties and can guide them. The user can text his or her peer coach at any time and receive the needed support.