FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 6, 2023
St. Peters, Mo. – Community Living, Inc. is launching a new program for young adults with disabilities this fall. The new Young Adult Center offers specialized programming designed to meet the needs and interests of young adults who desire more time to decide upon a future path of pre-employment, competitive employment, supported employment, or traditional day habilitation. The program is the first of its kind in our region. “Deciding what comes next is a tough choice for any high school graduate,” says Sheri Wiltse, Community Living’s President and CEO. “We want to make sure those with intellectual and developmental disabilities have both the time and the resources they need to help them decide what their next step is.”
Jenn Braden, the Director of Support Services for Adults at Community Living, has been noticing an increased need for a program of this type as she speaks with families utilizing the existing day habilitation program and those exploring options after high school. “People with intellectual and developmental disabilities used to be able to stay in the school system for much longer,” she said. “Now most are graduating at 18 and they aren’t ready to commit to entering traditional day habilitation for the rest of their life, but they aren’t quite ready to enter the workforce, either.”
The new program was created as a response to this rising concern. The Young Adult Center will follow a curriculum centered on individual growth, personal choice, skill development, socialization, navigating young adulthood, community involvement, and life transitions. Participants will learn and practice key skills related to self-determination, social and community relations, and daily living. Additionally, they’ll be able to explore the different paths available to them, so they can transition with confidence into their chosen future path at the close of their time in the program.
Among those paths are two programs that already exist within Community Living’s offerings. Support Services for Adults, or “SSA,” is a day habilitation program that provides outcome-based services to adults who don’t work, but who still want to have a meaningful and productive day. The program currently operates in five locations throughout St. Charles County where participants engage in social activities and volunteerism as they work toward goals they’ve set for themselves. Community Living’s Employment Services program assists individuals with disabilities throughout the lifespan of their career from research to retention and includes pre-employment and supported employment services. Participants in the Employment Services program are gainfully employed throughout the county.
“There are lots of options available within Community Living and with other organizations in our community,” said Braden. “Our goal is to help them discover what’s out there and equip them for success in whatever they choose as their next step.”
The program is open to young adults, recent high school graduates and those soon to graduate. Participation is limited to those ages 18-25 who are able to participate in a group-based setting without medical personnel on site.
Community Living, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to enrich the lives of people with disabilities so they can achieve their highest potential. We do this by providing children and adults with services and programs to allow them to live, learn and work in our community. In turn, they make our community inclusive, diverse and a better place to live.
If interested in learning more about the Young Adult Center please select LEARN MORE below and complete the “I’m Interested!” section at the bottom of the Young Adult Center webpage.