Rockhill Academy for Independent Living was established by Owen Gahagan, Jr., as a non-profit in 1995 to provide support, education, transitional living, and community involvement for adults who have been diagnosed with a chronic mental illness. The organization exclusively services residents of Rockhill Manor.

The Academy experience was designed to help people recover their self-esteem, and to lead more self-sufficient, independent, and productive lives. It was referred to as a “bridge” program, linking residents to the community.

Classes were formed to provide individualized support in all facets of the whole person, such as cooking, cleaning, hygiene, budgeting, banking, shopping, and medication management.

As the Academy evolved, core classes in basic reading, math, English, and history were added. Esteem-building, goal setting, personal responsibility development, and giving back continue to be themes that are present throughout the experience.

Graduating students have been encouraged to share their knowledge in the classroom and to help other students as peer life-skills coaches.

Today Rockhill Academy for Independent Living continues to “bridge” its adult students with the community, sharing a historic building with Rockhill Manor, along with independently-owned apartment housing.