The College Experience is very pleased to launch a new and special addition to our blog section. Family Corner allows the caregivers, guardians, or parental figures of our students and alumni to have a voice as far as telling the public what is incredible about their child and how the College Experience has helped them prosper while combined with the support of their family.
On that note, we are pleased to present the first entry of Family Corner from the family of Mia Carr, who is an alumnus from the 2014-2016 class. This entry was completed with assistance from her loving parents, Brendan and Sue. We thank them for their help in composing this entry and have attached a family photo from the College Experience Graduation Celebration in May 2016!
Mia turned 25 years old in May 2019. Her mom recognized very early in Mia’s life that she was delayed with traditional developmental thresholds and took immediate action.
As a preschooler, Mia had early intervention to help her develop fine and gross motor skills. As she entered school, Mia had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and an aide that allowed her to enroll in mainstream classes. School was a challenge for Mia, but a strong support group along with Mia’s ‘can do’ attitude allowed her to succeed. Failing, and not allowing Mia to pursue traditional dreams and aspirations, was never an option.
In Mia’s senior year of high school, her mom started exploring post-graduation schooling options. After researching schools, Mia was enrolled in a three-year long vocational program in Central Islip, NY.
Mia completed two years of the three-year program, and her parents could see that she was making strides toward becoming independent and self-sufficient, but they were looking for more for Mia. The vocational program had many positive attributes, but it was not as inclusive with the students and the surrounding community.
After exploring other educational options, Mia was accepted into the College Experience hosted by The College of Saint Rose in partnership with Living Resources, Inc. The program provides an inclusive atmosphere and the tools students need to lead a fulfilling and independent life. Students learn banking and budgeting; travel training; and the essential elements of independence.
Mia graduated from the College Experience in May of 2016 and has been leading an independent and fulfilling life ever since. After graduation, Mia worked in several daycare centers as a teacher’s assistant and in August of 2017, Mia started to work 20 plus hours per week at the Nathan Lebron Early Learning Center, which is a school run by Albany Community Action Partnerships (ACAP) as a teacher’s assistant in the pre-K classroom. Mia also enrolled in classes to obtain her Child Development Certificate (CDA), a certificate that introduces students to the foundational skills needed in working with young children, ages birth to 5 years.
Mia fulfilled the needed requirements and passed the exam and received her CDA in the summer of 2018. Mia then accepted a position at Mercy Cares for Kids run by St. Peter’s Health Partners where she works 30 hours per week as a teacher’s assistant. Mia’s success at work can be attributed to her work ethic, enthusiasm and a wonderful job coach who she may turn to for counsel, guidance and personal development.
Outside of work, Mia lives the life of a 25-year-old young woman. She goes out with friends who also graduated from the College Experience. The group will go to concerts, the gym, Comic-Con, dinner, and many other activities. Mia participates in the Alumni activities as often as possible and is living independently and happily in Albany.