The HDS Foundation B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program supports the development of school-based social and community life skills activities designed to meet the needs of ASD High School Students.  Structured in the form of a grant, the Foundation encourages High School ESE Departments to create school-based programs that provide opportunities year-round for Social, Independence, Community and Personal Development to teens who have Developmental Disabilities within this population. 

This past Saturday, the HDS Foundation met with Cypress Bay High School B.R.I.D.G.E.S. class for their annual Budgeting Life Skills Event. Students, along with their parents, met with the Bank of America representatives to learn budgeting skills. They learned all about transactions like deposits and withdrawals and even opened their very own bank account. Managing money is a very important life skill and represents the B. in the HDS Foundation B.R.I.D.G.E.S. program goals.

Cypress Bay teachers, Ms. Donna Mansolillo and Ms. Kathy Gormin-Gard, have built a valuable curriculum filled with life lessons around this skill in preparation for this event but also thread throughout the program for the year. With that being said, the HDS Foundation and the Bank of America provided the opportunity for the students to open their first bank account. These bank accounts will be used throughout the rest of the year in order to give students the experience of: saving money, utilizing the ATM, depositing cash or checks, and having a debit card to pay for meals or activities during their Community-Based Instruction (CBI).

Veteran students, with active accounts, participated as well by learning more about the variety of banking options. The B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Class will accompany this event with a CBI trip to the Bank of America at the Weston Commons. At this CBI, they will learn more about the banking process that occurs at Bank of America, while also becoming more acquainted with their local branch. In addition to familiarizing themselves with the bank, they will also be making their very first deposit with checks issued by the HDS Foundation. This allows the students to learn, step by step, how to deposit their check and use the ATM properly to access their money.

While the students signed up for their bank account, the HDS Contenders brought the students, parents, and volunteers’ snacks and refreshments to enjoy.

This event allowed parents to participate alongside their children and see the strides they’ve made by learning how to become independent adults.

The students came in excited to open their own bank account, and left feeling super confident on how to manage, save, and use their money for upcoming events and activities.