When my husband and I heard and read about the College Experience Program we were excited about the wonderful opportunity available for our handicapped 20 year old son. Of course we had many concerns and questions, would he be safe, happy, how would he handle being away from his family who he was very tied to emotionally? How would we as parents put away our fears, apprehensions and be supportive of him and the staff in this new adventure?
Two years and a graduation later, we can't begin to express what a wonderful change we all experienced while in the program. The conscientious staff of the College Experience Program were always available 24/7 to help, answer questions, present alternative solutions and most important of all listen to any and all needs Joseph or ourselves presented to them and act on them in a timely fashion.
Socially Joseph has learned to reach out, trust and give back to the many new friends he has gained while in the program. He is much more confident in himself and willing to initiate and try new experiences on his own and with his newfound friends. Joseph is much more independent with his decision making, time management, cooking skills, safety awareness, transportation needs and budget decisions.
The College Experience Program has given Joseph the tools, confidence and social skills to move onward and forward to the Living Resources Residential program and to a much more independent life on his own for the many years to come. The program has given to my husband and I the reassurance that Joseph's safety, health and happiness will be met by Living Resources and their exceptional staff in the years to come.
Parents to Joseph, Class of 2010
When Kathy was 12 years old, we had a very difficult year deciding on a program that would provide her the skills she would need for a happy and productive life. With each new program she attended for middle school, high school, transition, and then the College Experience Program, Kathy has grown by leaps and bounds. She has risen to the challenges she faced, and we could not be more proud of Kathy's accomplishments.
It took some convincing for Kathy's dad to realize the College Experience Program would be an excellent opportunity for her to become an independent young woman. He always said she could live with us at home “forever”.Â Well, home is in a rural area without easy access to transportation, employment, shopping, and entertainment.
Kathy was eager to be in the city where she could have easy access to all those things. She is very interested in trying all kinds of activities. Kathy's confidence grew quickly as she learned to navigate the neighborhood and CDTA buses. She expressed a desire to take self-defense classes which was incorporated into a series for all the girls in her class. Kathy has developed a good sense for banking and money management, using her online banking website. She is cautious when making large purchases, and she even discovered a large error against her account made by the bank. Kathy makes a point to cook or choose nutritious items when eating out or at home.
Currently, she is volunteering at St. Peter's Hospital which is a short walk from her apartment. Kathy lives in a lovely neighborhood where she is a “regular” at the Dunkin Donuts. She is so proud to have her own place. We are so impressed by Kathy’s happiness that she has living independently. We have a close extended family, and Kathy still loves to be with all of us for family get-togethers, but she likes to get back home to her own place.
Kathy's dad unexpectedly passed away recently, but he was able to see her settled into a new life of her own choosing. We are so pleased with the opportunities and skills the College Experience Program provided for Kathy to discover her ability to make good choices, be independent, and establish a life of her own.
Parent to Kathleen, Class of 2009
300 Washington Avenue Extension Albany, New York 12203