May 2, 2018, Peninsula Ohio: Representatives from The Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD), the Woodridge School System, Koinonia Homes, along with students, faculty, and families gathered at Woodridge High School to celebrate the success of The Transition Services for Youth program, an initiative designed to prepare young adults with developmental disabilities (DD) for the professional world upon graduation.
According to Walter C. Davis, Superintendent of Woodridge Local Schools, “We’re creating a better tomorrow one child at a time by remaining focused on excellence, guiding our youth, and planning for the future.” Davis also recognized the teachers and counselors at Woodridge High School for their dedication to maximizing their independence and self-sufficiency in the community. “They are superstars,” declared Davis.
The pilot program, which kicked off in 2017, enabled students from the ages of 14 to 22 to take advantage of community-based career exploration activities which included a mixture of workplace tours, volunteer opportunities, internships, job coaching and more, all in tandem with their regular academic activities. Community partners including Continuing Healthcare of Bath, Drug Mart of Stow, Fun n Stuff in Macedonia, Giant Eagle of Portage Crossing, Goodwill of Tallmadge, and Legend Lanes in Cuyahoga Falls, provided the exploration activities for the students.
“Seeing the work we are doing with the students and hearing the stories, really drives home why we are doing this program,” said Julie Abiecunas, Director of Koinonia Enterprises. “I appreciate Summit DD for leading this process and Woodridge High School for focusing on creating positive outcomes for these students after graduation.
The program will continue into the 2018-2019 school year and hopes to expand to other high schools next year. If you are interested in learning more about Koinonia’s workforce development program, or you’d like to become a community partner, please contact Jason Dresden, Manager of Workforce Development, at (216) 926-04589 or via e-mail at Jason.Dresden@KoinoniaHomes.org.