On Tuesday night, the HDS Foundation took our “Toolbox for Success” to Cypress Bay High School for the ESE Post-Secondary Transition Expo. This expo was geared specifically towards ESE students who are not pursuing a traditional 2- or 4-year college program upon graduation and are looking for alternatives to the traditional college route.

The HDS Foundation mission is to provide services and resources to families, while also supporting the initiatives that create independence and employments skills for students. This year’s theme is the “Toolbox for Success.” The toolbox includes a variety of tools that represent important factors for students to be successful. For example, the drill represented parents and family; the wrench represented support systems; the hammer represented self-advocacy, and so on.

The HDS Foundation provided folders, pins, totes, and an abundance of resources for parents and their children. The folders were illustrated by the Cypress Bay High School B.R.I.D.G.E.S. class where each student drew a picture that represented what they would like to pursue as their post-secondary journey. As parents arrived, folders and totes were handed out for them to gather information from each vendor. The pins that were created were used to represent the tools that went inside the toolbox of success. These were handed out to children while HDS staff member, Natalie Stevenson, explained what each tool symbolized.

As parents stopped by the table, HDS Foundation staff member, Liz Falk, proceeded to explain the different resources we had to offer. It was shocking to hear how many parents did not know about the different options they had for their child. One young mother came up to the table and made a statement that resonated with us. She stated, “How can I ask any questions, if I don’t know what there is out there or what to ask?” In other words, there are not a lot of resources that are readily available about transitioning from high school to post-secondary. However, this transition expo was an eye opener for her, giving her the opportunity to learn more about the options she now has for her child but didn’t know before.

Overall, this was a successful event for the HDS Foundation, parents, and Cypress Bay High School. Many parents became more aware of resources that are available for them to help their child succeed.

The HDS Foundation will soon have the resources page available for you!