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.

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Gelhorn’s medium-term plan is to develop a higher-margin business-to-business product that could be delivered to institutions like colleges and universities.

He has designed the service to emphasize the positive in young people who have often gone off the rails because of their intellectual and emotional challenges. “The idea is to build people up and not judge them on the things they’ve done,” said Gelhorn, who knows these challenges because he coped with them for years.

“With my background, I had no support and I was all over the place,” said Gelhorn. “People would just focus on what I wasn’t doing. . . . I was a ticking time bomb.”

He went through tough years. It took him six years to complete a two-year program in social work, and he spent three years on employment insurance. In 2008, he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and he began to turn his life around.

Lately, Gelhorn himself has been receiving no shortage of mentorship on the business front: He has taken ADDtext through both the Starting Lean program at Dalhousie University and Propel ICT’s Launch cohort in Halifax. And this summer he will go through Launch Dal’s summer program.

He presented the company at the Propel Demo Day earlier this month, and invited along Valiant, who has become a member of the ADDtext team. In fact, Gelhorn announced that from now on ADDtext will award a $500 scholarship to a different user each quarter. Valiant will receive the first scholarship to help cover his tuition costs when he attends Cape Breton University to study arts and communication in the fall. Eventually, he hopes to study law.

“I’m quite interested in law and the human rights aspect of it,” said Valiant. “I want to change things in the field of education, but first I have to learn how things work.”