Transitions and Fulton - Montgomery Community College introduce Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies

Transitions and the State University of New York at Fulton-Montgomery Community College (FMCC) are excited to announce a partnership to offer a Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies. The new certificate program combines credit-bearing courses at FMCC with a non-credit curriculum at Transitions to help students develop executive functioning skills, learn how to be successful at work and in life, build independent living skills and strengthen self-management, advocacy and leadership skills.

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“We are grateful to the partnership and support that the State University of New York at Fulton-Montgomery Community College has provided in developing and offering this new Certificate in Career and Life Studies,” said Jennifer Feagles, LMSW, Director of Transitions. “This will provide a certificate to the young adults who are ready to pursue their independence and career goals after high school.”

The Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies will assist students such as Marybeth, an active, social and career-minded 22-year-old who was very different before she joined the program. Back then, she was quiet, cripplingly shy and lacking direction or job prospects.

“I didn’t have many friends,” Marybeth said. “I was shy. My mom would have to find ways to get me out of the house.”

When she joined Transitions, Marybeth gained access to internship opportunities in a variety of businesses as well as classes that helped her improve her social, organizational, time management, executive functioning and independent living skills. With the help of those classes, career success courses at FMCC and her current internship at Harvey’s Home, Garden and Pet Center, Marybeth is well on her way to achieving her goal of obtaining a job in her dream field of working with animals.

Transitions, a post-secondary program that helps young adults with autism and other learning differences achieve success after high school, helped Marybeth overcome all her personal obstacles and more. And now, through this partnership with FMCC, Transitions can do even more to prepare her for success in life beyond the program.

“This partnership with FMCC will provide life-changing opportunities for our students,” said Shaloni Winston, founder of Transitions and Executive Director of Lexington - Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc. “Pursuing a Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies will give them not only a quality education that truly prepares them to live and work independently, but also the invaluable experience of being part of college campus life with peers in a similar stage in life, with all the same goals and challenges. Everyone deserves a career they love and a life they control themselves. This certificate program will help realize that dream for many young adults.”

To obtain the Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies, students will take credit-bearing classes in career exploration and preparation, resume and cover letter preparation, job interviewing and professional self-presentation at FMCC, and non-credit bearing classes in time management, organization, social success, wellness, self-advocacy and independent living skills at Transitions.

A minimum of 250 hours of on-the-job internship experience at community businesses with graduated levels of responsibility will be required for each student. Transitions staff will provide job coaching, liaise with employers and encourage communication skills that will lead to success in future employment. They will also liaise with the college staff to assist the student in receiving academic support and learning skills needed to complete schoolwork and interact success fully with peers and professors. All students will have full access to the college’s library, gym, clubs and other resources.

“FMCC is proud to partner with Transitions to provide this certificate program for their students,” said Dustin Swanger, Ed.D., president of FMCC. “We believe that education enhances everyone’s life, and receiving a validation of that education in the form of an official certificate not only provides a conclusion to any given program, it becomes a symbol of pride for the learner for years to come.”

This program is suited but not limited to students with learning differences, such as autism spectrum disorder, learning differences and ADHD. Students may attain their certificate on a full-time or part-time basis. Student apartment living with a focus on learning independent living skills is also available for full-time students.

In the two years since its creation, Transitions has already made a significant difference in the lives of dozens of young people who have enrolled in camps, events and full-year programs at its Mayfield campus. This certificate program is an opportunity to marry the immersive lessons of Transitions to FMCC’s fully integrated college environment, giving students a life-altering experience that will set them on the path to success throughout the rest of their lives.

To learn more and to apply, please visit www.transitionsusa.org, contact (518) 775-5384 or email admissions@transitionsusa.org.

Transitions Now Offering Let's Get Organized Classes

If you know a young adult who has trouble with organization, getting things done on time, handling papers or homework, and overall doing tasks that require “executive functioning,” we have a solution. Starting April 25th, we are presenting Let’s Get Organized!, a series of classes aimed at improving these skills for youth with learning differences.

What:
• Curriculum “Seeing My Time” by Marydee Sklar- visual tools for executive functioning success
• Classes cover self-assessment, organization, time management, handling papers and using a planner

Who:
• Teens or young adults ages 15-20

Where:
Transitions
2736 State Highway 30
Mayfield, NY 12117

When:
• April 25, May 2, May 9 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. These three classes cover part of the curriculum, with more classes planned in the future

Taught by:
• Certified “Seeing My Time” instructors Erin Hollenbeck and Heidi West

Cost:
• Cost is $49 for the three classes

For more information and to register, please contact:
Terry Williams, Transitions Admissions Coordinator
(518) 775-5384 admissions@transitionsusa.org

Lexington Receives NYSARC Trust Recreation Grant

The Trustees of the NYSARC, Inc. Trust have approved a remainder fund grant of $12,500 per chapter to provide recreational opportunities for people they support. Last year the Chapter received a similar grant from NYSARC Trust Services to enhance the Encounters Social Club at Lexington. The social club brings together people in recreational venues from all over Lexington and the community to help combat isolation and provide opportunities to meet others with like interests. Approximately 60 people were served by the grant last year.

The funding this year was used by the Encounters group, the Commit club and by a group from the Lexington Family Services. A portion of this year’s funding was used by the Encounters group to continue the social activities that were started last year. Membership mixers were held as well as dinners out, dancing, football and video gaming nights. Each event offered club members a supportive venue to meet new people and experience new activities. Approximately 65 people attended the Encounters events.

The Commit club provides people with opportunities to experience outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing, and fishing. The focus is on teamwork and health and wellness activities while promoting positive social interactions in the community and at home. The grant funding was used to purchase items such as snowshoes, fishing gear, and backpacks. Approximately 30 people were served through the Commit program.

Funding was also used for various recreational events for people served by Lexington’s Family Services program. Trips to Disney on Ice, movies, recreational events, the Aquarium and other venues were made possible for people who may never be afforded such an opportunity. Also provided were social skills coaching and training opportunities in a recreational setting for teens and young adults. Approximately 125 people benefited from the grant funding under the guidance of the Lexington Family Services program.

In addition, remainder fund grants totaling $1,466,000 were awarded to support NYSARC guardianship programs statewide. A total of $1,874,000 in remainder grants was awarded in 2016 to support recreation and guardianship statewide. NYSARC Trust Services administers supplemental needs trusts that enable people with disabilities to remain in their home and community while retaining Medicaid services and other government benefits. Information is available on how NYSARC Trust Services may benefit you: our website www.nysarctrustservices.org, phone 1-518-439-8323, toll free phone 1-800-735-8924 or e-mail info@nysarctrustservices.org.

Marydee Sklar is Coming to Transitions on October 18 to discuss Building Executive Function Skills: Time Management, Planning and Organization!

Everyone struggles to stay on top of things sometimes, but does your student, son or daughter have frequent and serious trouble with:

  • Procrastination?
  • Staying focused?
  • Losing track of time?
  • Turning in assignments late, incomplete or not at all?
  • Losing belongings?
  • Starting and/or completing things?
  • Managing multi-step tasks?
  • Acting without thinking?

If you answered yes to several of these questions, you might benefit from attending Marydee Sklar’s seminar on:
Building Executive Function Skills: Time Management, Planning and Organization

This is an interactive, hands-on workshop that will give you tools to help students understand the connection between their brain development and their behaviors tied to time management, planning and organization. You will come away armed with tools, strategies and practical knowledge to help students strengthen executive function skills and become more productive. Feel free to apply what you’ve learned to improve your own time management as well!

For nearly twenty years Marydee Sklar has specialized in teaching the executive function skills of time management, planning, and organization to families and adults. Her latest book: 50 Tips to Help Students Succeed-Develop Your Student’s Time-Management and Executive Skills for Life is designed to bring relief to anxious and frustrated parents concerned about the school success of their child or teen. Her Seeing My Time books are used in private practice settings, middle schools, high schools, and colleges. The instructor’s manual for her Seeing My Time workbook won a gold medal in the education/academia category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. More information may be found at https://executivefunctioningsuccess.com.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Lexington SELF-Advocates Meet Senator Charles Schumer!

On Wednesday, March 30, several staff and Lexington Self-Advocates traveled to the Wildwood School in Schenectady for a press conference where United States Senator Charles Schumer, NY spoke about his new Bill, The Disability Integration Act of 2015.

Lexington Self-Advocates Zach Durkee and Jose Kemp in the front row

Lexington Self-Advocates Zach Durkee and Jose Kemp in the front row

Lexington Self-Advocate Dennis Hoyer shakes Senator Schumer's hand

Lexington Self-Advocate Dennis Hoyer shakes Senator Schumer's hand

Senator Charles Schumer  

Senator Charles Schumer

 

Lexington Self-Advocate Grace Rhodes meets Senator Schumer

Lexington Self-Advocate Grace Rhodes meets Senator Schumer

According to a press release issued by his office, this new legislation will help individuals with disabilities live more independently by providing necessary at-home and community-based services and supports. Specifically, the legislation ensures that any individual who is found eligible for institutional care must also be given the option to receive the same necessary services and supports at home, or in a setting of their choosing, that would have otherwise been provided in an institutional setting. This legislation gives individuals with disabilities the option to live more independently, and in the comfort of their own home, rather than in an institutional facility away from their friends and family. This legislation will also help ease the financial burden of those who do not want to live in a facility and may be paying high out-of-pocket insurance costs for in-home services and supports. The bill will help alleviate the emotional burden that family members are often faced with when taking care of their loved ones with disabilities who are not receiving the necessary services and supports.

“Individuals with disabilities have the right to live independent, fulfilling lives amongst their families and friends – but right now, they are often denied the kind of at-home services and supports that then keep them in institutional settings, far from their loved ones and communities. We need to be doing everything in our power to make sure they have the resources needed to live and thrive in the comfort of their own homes,” said Schumer. “This legislation will finally give individuals with disabilities the option to receive these types of services at home, so that they can continue living life to the fullest in their own communities.”

The Disability Integration Act ensures that any individual with a disability who is found eligible for institutional care must be given the option to receive the necessary services that allow them to be more independent. If passed, this legislation would prohibit public entities and insurance providers that pay for long-term services and supports (LTSS) from using waiting lists, screening people out, capping services, under-paying workers for services or taking any other actions that would restrict the home- and community-based services provided to people with disabilities. The Disability Integration Act specifically defines LTSS as the assistance provided to individuals with disabilities in accomplishing, acquiring the means or ability to accomplish, maintaining, or enhancing activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, health-related tasks or other related functions, tasks or activities. For example, LTSS programs might include help with eating, bathing, dressing, preparing food, managing medication and housekeeping.

 

Lexington Center Adaptive Sports Programming By Chris Shook

Transitions alumnus Chris Shook, an aspiring journalist, interned in the Lexington Communications Department during his time at the program. One of his assignments at the internship was to write an article about a Lexington topic, and he chose the adaptive sports program. Read on to hear his take on how Lexington gives the people it supports new and exciting athletic experiences in the outdoors!


Lexington Center Adaptive Sports Programming
By Chris Shook

Having a physical or developmental difference shouldn’t prevent anyone from having fun or participating in sports. Lexington believes this wholeheartedly, and for that reason they provide two related athletic programs to the people they support: adaptive sports and the Special Olympics.

The adaptive sports are regular sports modified to fit individuals who are differently abled. The adaptations cater to individuals who are blind or have problems with mobility – namely, those who are in a wheelchair. The program at Lexington takes its participants sailing in the summertime and skiing in the winter.

The Special Olympics are typically for people with intellectual differences. Today Special Olympics programs provide year-round training and competition to people in 170 countries around the world, but the organization started out much smaller. In 1962, Eunice Kennedy Shriver noticed that people with intellectual differences had few opportunities and felt they were being treated unfairly. She began it that summer as a day camp in her back yard. Similar camps started growing across the country and by 1968, the program had spread to Canada as well. The first international games were held that year in Chicago. Now, more than 4 million athletes compete in Special Olympics games internationally each year, with events held every day at every level on every continent.

Lexington incorporates their adaptive sports program into their Special Olympics games. In addition to sailing and skiing, Lexington Special Olympic athletes compete in softball, basketball, volleyball, hula-hooping, 125-meter dashes, bobsled, Frisbee, and track and field. There are some adaptations in the other sports as well; for example, the baskets are lower than typical in basketball and softball uses larger bases. The games take place at Lexington’s location at the former Bishop Burke High School. Eighty-five percent of the athletes who participate earn a medal.

In past years, there have been about 30 athletes in the sailing program and about 15 in skiing. The skiing began 10 to 12 years ago, while sailing was added to the program 8 years ago. Skiing is available from January until April at Windham Mountain Ski Resort in the Catskill Mountains and sailing takes place from June to September at Lake George.

“The athletes receive help from people who are trained by people who specialize in helping people with disabilities,” said Bonnie Reuss, the administrator of the adaptive sports program at Lexington. She added that she is “proud of the accomplishments of the athletes.”

According to Reuss, sailing is a bit easier for the athletes than skiing. Staff use Hoyer Lifts to get the athletes onto the boats, which have to be very stable, and they go sailing in the afternoon. 

The skiers, who are a bit more adventurous, navigate the slopes in the mornings on bi-skis. These special pieces of equipment, which look like chairs with skis on the bottom, are specifically designed for individuals with mobility challenges. Other individuals can ski behind the bi-skiers and help guide them down the slopes.

Athletes who participate in adaptive sports must practice frequently and exercise patience. They do compete with each other, but it’s really more about fun. Lexington’s adaptive sports have all been successful – in more than ten years, there have been no injuries and everyone has been well prepared. Lexington is looking to add more sports to the program so athletes can have even more opportunities to experience the gratification and exhilaration of sports.

The athletes seem to enjoy participating in the adaptive sports program, too. Crystal White has done adaptive sailing as well as the Special Olympics, and she loved her experiences. White competed in beanbag throwing and finished second in the wheelchair races last spring’s games. She said the Special Olympics coaches and volunteers are absolutely essential to the success of the competition.

“The way they help us compete is by setting up practice rounds,” she said, “and they require us to do 12 practices to see what level we’re on.”    

One of those coaches is Lynette May. She was a volunteer for 15 years until 2011, when she decided to become an official coach. May coaches the Frisbee activities and the 125-meter dashes. Teams are separated not by gender, but by level of skill and capability. May said the age group of athletes ranges from 20 to 80 and older – whoever wants to participate is welcome.

Lexington has many adaptive sports athletes, all of whom had to overcome their challenges to play sports. Lexington has had a lot of success getting these unique individuals who wanted to participate in sports the chance to shine, an opportunity they don’t often get.

The benefit of this program isn’t just in fitness goals achieved or medals won. More than that, it’s the sense of pride and confidence the experience gives the athletes. If they see that they can participate in these sports despite their differences, it proves to them they can do anything they want.

LEXINGTON RECEIVES NYSARC TRUST RECREATION GRANT

The NYSARC Trust Services Board has provided Lexington, Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC Inc., with a remainder fund grant of $8,000 to provide recreational opportunities for people supported by Lexington. Last year, Lexington received a similar grant from NYSARC Trust Services for $10,000 that went toward purchasing recreational game equipment such as foosball tables, ping pong tables, air hockey tables and pool tables.

The funding is providing for Encounters, a social club that brings together young people from all over Lexington, the community and other agencies and helps combat the isolation that often follows graduation from school. Funds from the grant will be used to purchase long-lasting materials such as video game equipment, snow shoes, art supplies and games. The grant will also support other, less durable expenses that generate excitement and keep the group engaged, such as promotional items, catering and gift certificates to defray the costs of some activities.

In addition, remainder fund grants totaling $1,466,000 were awarded to support NYSARC guardianship programs statewide and a total of $1,874,000 in remainder grants were awarded in 2015 to support recreation and guardianship statewide. NYSARC Trust Services administers supplemental needs trusts that enable people with disabilities to remain in their home and community while retaining Medicaid services and other government benefits. Information about how NYSARC Trust Services may benefit you is available by visiting www.nysarctrustservices.org, calling 1-518-439-8323 or 1-800-735-8924 (toll-free), or e-mailing info@nysarctrustservices.org.

For more information about Encounters, Lexington’s members-only social club, please contact Katherine Ehle at ehlek@lexcenter.org or (518) 736-3909.