The college experience. There’s nothing quite like it — in good ways and in bad. Of course, everyone’s college experience is different; some went to commuter schools and studied from home, others flew across the country for the top biomedical E=engineering program in the nation, and others went without a solid idea of who they are or what they want to be.
For many of us, college is a journey to find out who we really are, and what our likes and dislikes are away from the safety net of our house.
Young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) are no different. They crave adventure, self-discovery and the opportunity to master a trade or craft that will eventually help them achieve independence. Or at least a sense of accomplishment.
However, up until 1984 that really wasn’t an option for people with IDDs. It was expected that they would stay at home with their parents for the rest of their lives, kind of just existing.
But then Imagine! created the opportunity for a new life. They developed CORE Labor Source (CLS), a branch off of their other programs tailored to young adults and adults. It offers 120 instructor-designed, curriculum-based classes to help educate and broaden their minds to the possibilities life has to offer.
They allow their students/employees to choose a variety of curriculums throughout their year to make sure they are experiencing everything they possibly can before they make a career choice. The broad list includes hiking, book club, computer and iPad, or theater, so there is a niche for every personality.
CLS has partnered with 40 businesses over the years who employ their students on an individual or group basis. CLS ensures the partnership is mutually beneficial with reduced training costs, reliable employees who care about their work, and of course, the warm glow that only comes from helping those in need.
Imagine! and Imagine! Foundation are truly a one of a kind, with their hearts and passions set on improving the lives of people with IDDs. But more often than not, it is they who receive the better end of the deal.
Working with children and adults with IDDs is it’s own reward. These people are some of the happiest and most optimistic on the planet. They leave all who they encounter with a smile; why not return the favor and do all we can to make their lives as joyful and fulfilling as possible.