Updated on 1/17/2012 2:17:37 PM.
“What’s next?” is probably the toughest question facing most young adults, but that decision can be especially challenging for those with intellectual disabilities. The Next Steps at Vanderbilt program, which graduated its first class this month, has broadened those choices.
The six graduates from the inaugural two-year certification program audited Vanderbilt University courses, focused on independent living skills and participated in internships that will make them more employable. The students are mentored by Ambassadores, Vanderbilt student volunteers who spend time with the Next Steps students on a weekly basis.
The biggest impact the program has had on students? It has given them “a sense of confidence in their own place in the world,” says Tammy Day, Program Director of Next Steps at Vanderbilt. “They see themselves so much more as, ‘I belong; there’s a place for me.’”
Three more Next Steps students are expected to graduate in May 2012, and the program is currently accepting applications for up to 8 new students to begin in August. The deadline to apply is February 15, 2012. To register or for more information, click here.
View a 3-minute video about Next Steps at Vanderbilt and the first graduating class (produced by Vanderbilt News) here.
View footage of the Next Steps at Vanderbilt graduation (produced by The Vanderbilt Hustler student newspaper) here.
Read more about Next Steps here.
Jan Rosemergy can answer your media-related questions or help connect you to one of our science or disability professionals.
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