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Youth with disabilities aiming high – with success

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Posted: Jan 05, 2024| Categories: Uncategorized

For the fifth consecutive year, VTDigger is excited to work with Vermont Care Partners to promote the much-needed services of its sixteen respective member agencies which, includes NCSS. They also understand how important it is for our elected officials to know how to support the needs of Vermonters.  

This thirteen-week series is a collaboration produced by members of the Vermont Care Partners statewide network of sixteen non-profit, community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use and intellectual and developmental disability support.

Below is the first installment of the series from Champlain Community Services focusing on two initiatives that provide opportunities for youth with intellectual disabilities and autism.

Youth with disabilities aiming high – with success

As barriers to participation fade, abilities to contribute are spotlighted

For too long, opportunities and expectations for youth with intellectual disabilities and autism – and the expectations they set for themselves – were modest. Strong and expanding partnerships between Vermont Care Partner network agencies, schools, state government, and Vermont employers have opened the door for fuller participation. And now expectations, and achievements, are rising.

Champlain Community Services (CCS), a Colchester-based developmental services provider, is actively engaged in this process, offering a continuum of educational and employment and career-development supports.

“Youth with intellectual disabilities and autism and their families have access to a variety of services while in school, but negotiating the transition to adulthood presents new challenges,” said CCS Executive Director Beth Sightler. “We’re investing in youth to ensure they have a solid foundation for what comes next.” Increasingly, that means full participation in the community and the workplace. 

CCS supports youth through two initiatives: the Bridging program for current high school students (in its ninth year at CCS) and School2Work, serving students transitioning from high school to the world of work and/or post-secondary education. Each is a vital part of CCS’ Way2Work continuum, which also includes a nationally recognized Adult Employment component.

These efforts are not only producing exciting outcomes for youth with disabilities, but are helping to strengthen and diversify communities, schools, and worksites. Read more by clicking Sponsor Spotlight link below…