(St.Joseph,MO)For many children and teens living with developmental disabilities, life after leaving the public education system can be overwhelming, but Progressive Community Services is working with teens to prepare them to take on life’s challenges after graduation. Friday the organization welcomed 17 area teens to their second annual Good (Goals, Opportunities,Options and Decisions) Day event.
The GOOD Day program helps high school students, between the ages 14 to 20, with developmental disabilities make a plan for life after graduation.
From 9a.m. until 3p.m. the program used crafts and games to teach teens about a variety of topics including community engagement, employment, personal finance, safety and healthy living.
Lynn Smith, Executive Director of Progressive Community Services said the program is centered around encouraging students to set goals for themselves.
“We just look at areas of life that we all have. It’s a universal framework, it’s charting the life course, but it helps them look at all those things and set a trajectory,” Smith said. “When they do graduate high school there is somewhat of a plan. They have dreams so that they are working towards something while in those years in high school.”
Each student created their own vision booklet to help them express what they wanted their future goals to be and how they could start becoming more independent. Several students said they wanted to have more personal responsibilities like taking on a part-time job or having their own bank account.
After the seminar, parents were invited to attend a presentation about what their child learned throughout the course. Smith said the GOOD Day program also gives parents the chance to listen to what their children want for their own future.
“I think this day is important because it gives those families something to talk about,” Smith said. “A lot of this is just helping people have a dream and have a vision, because without that none of us would really go anywhere. We all have to have something we are working for, something [we] are looking forward to.This day, hopefully will instill some of that in some of these kids.”
For more information on the GOOD Day program or the Progressive Community Services contact Lynn Smith at (816) 364-3827.
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