Summer Programs Have an Impact on Over 110 Participants
The Center on Disability and Development supports several summer programs; this year there were 111 participants. As well as 49 staff and mentors who support and supervise the participants.
Leadership, Employability, and Advocacy Project (LEAP)
The Leadership, Employability, and Advocacy Project (LEAP) is a 10-day educational training program for youth ages 14-22. Applicants come from all over the state. The first session was held June 8-17 with 25 students and a second session was held July 20-29 with 26 students. Participants experience an educational ten-day training program that includes a tour of the State Capitol, meeting with state level officials, and a mock legislative session where the students speak about issues important to them personally. Students participate in Person-Centered Practices training where they learn how to self-advocate, develop team building skills as well as how to achieve their goals and independent living skills.
Work and College Opportunities Project (WACO)
The Work and College Opportunities Project (WACO) is a 5-week program held in the Summer for participants who are blind, have low vision or other disabilities. Participants receive instruction in Professionalism, Self-determination and Teamwork. They live in on-campus dormitories and learn about the Texas A&M University campus and bus routes. They also experience college opportunities and work in the community 16-20 hours a week. This year 21 participants completed the WACO Project and many have indicated a desire to go on to college and continue their education and goals for independent living.
Bridge to Career Program (B2C)
Thirty-nine students attended the Bridge to Career Program (B2C) at Texas A&M University June 24 through July 20.B2C is a 4-week summer program and is a prerequisite for the PATHS Certificate Program.
Bridge to Career works in collaboration with the Brazos Valley Center For Independent Living to provide qualifying students with developmental disabilities access to a post-secondary education program along with special educational supports, which will prepare them for employment. Twenty-nine of the students who completed the Bridge to Career summer program were accepted into the 2018-19 PATHS Program.
Postsecondary Access and Training in Human Services (PATHS)
The Postsecondary Access and Training in Human Services (PATHS) Certificate Program prepares the students from Bridge to Career for a career as Direct Support Professionals and Child Care Professionals. Upon completing the summer program, students will complete two semesters at the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University’s College of Education and Human Development. Participants who complete the program will earn a certificate. The 2018-19 PATHS program will begin on August 19, with orientation, Prep week is August 20-24 and classes begin on the 27th.
PATHS alumni have gone on to work and live independently. Some graduates choose to continue their educational goals by attending colleges. All graduates leave the PATHS program with job skills, work experience, and a sense of achievement as well as the determination to live independent lives.