Through a very generous grant, this program supports many social and community activities through a direct grant to local high school’s ESE Department. The scope of activities ranges from social skills, community outreach, visiting local employers and assisting in finding first jobs, in addition to activities that are typical to high school students, such as home-coming, prom, and other social opportunities typically not experienced by this population.
Budgeting and planning for expenses is a complicated task, even for a seasoned individual. For the Special Needs population, it becomes even more important to start this process of learning about money early on. This can include anything from understanding the value of each bill, and coin, to being able to make sure that you are receiving the correct change, knowing how and when to tip, (like for a sit-down meal at a restaurant versus a fast food experience). Additionally, we live in the world of internet stores and purchases, which also can be complex for some. It’s very easy to click on the “BUY” button on any website, but it’s understanding that “purchasing” means “paying” later that month. This is a recurring lesson, being addressed in this program.
Every student in the BRIDGES program has been provided funds to open an ATM/checking account. Bank of America graciously has been providing assistance to the students and parents to ensure that they have access to these services. The Students will be practicing budgeting, spending, and record keeping, as well as other financial skills throughout the year. Furthermore, students who earn additional money in a part-time job, or receive monetary gifts (birthday or other), can utilize their account and generalize this new skill in their day to day activities.
Through this grant, participating schools will have various resources in the community available to help their students develop different life skills. The HDS Foundation is working closely with community businesses to further our goals, and provide opportunities to these students. Having Community Partners and resources available are critical to this population. Not only is having the resource important, but understanding where to find information in a format that can be easily accessed by the community. This can include everything from local businesses, restaurants, banks, consultants, to educational resources.
The HDS Foundation, in collaboration with Customized Interventions, have already made great strides in engaging community businesses. From restaurants like Tarantella’s in Weston Town Center, to Bank of America, Marino Campus, First Tee Broward, Weston Hills Country Club, Global Business Brokers, and many more. Our mission is to engage our community, spread awareness, and disseminate information about resources available to these individuals and their families.
Our Resources Page will provide many direct contacts to these resources.
Independent functioning is one of the most critical goals of an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability. The scope of independent functioning is extremely broad, and can range from things like being safe, getting around in the community and other places like school, being able to learn a job skill and attain employment, fixing a meal, participating in school events and feeling like you are part of it, managing complex situations by knowing where to reach out for help, having a weekend activity and perhaps meeting a friend for lunch and a movie… Many of these tasks may sound typical and easy for some, but are often taken for granted. Social and Communication Skills are great challenges for teens and young adults with an IDD, yet one of the most rewarding when it happens successfully. Buddy-like activities are paving the way in different arenas. Cheer Buddies, Basketball Buddies, Drama Buddies, Chorus Buddies…these are community based, student-managed programs that have made additional opportunities available to many of the students at the school that they would not otherwise have. The First Tee Broward is now bringing their Golf Mentorship Program to our community, and with the assistance of The HDS Foundation and Global Business Brokers, they will be launching this program in January at the Weston Hills Country Club. These mentorship opportunities are just a few that facilitate more independence and better-peer modeling occasions.
As these students get ready to embark into post-secondary education and/or the work force, we want to provide them with tools that will help this transition. The Social Skills Class curriculum is geared towards the development of each student, addressing strengths and deficits, and teaching new skills. Many of the students are still in their teens, and like any other teen, still have a great deal of growth and development to achieve. With this population, specific development is addressed perhaps earlier, and reinforced continually; this allows them sufficient time for repeated instruction and ultimate success. The program will build on different strategies, along with IEP Goals that are already defined for each student.
When we are very young, a great deal of our development and growth emerges very fast. However, it is proven that we can continue to learn and grow during various stages of our lives. Many students with disabilities learn to be successful with on-going growth strategies, therapies, tutoring and alike. The Growth will come with education, practical experiences, repeated tasks and maturity. The Bridges program aims to assist in the development and growth of these young individuals, and through this growth, empower them to be successful in the future.
Building self-confidence, character, and values are fundamental to success. There are many ways to build these characteristics in a person. By exposing the students to various activities, groups, and learned skills, we will build on the foundation needed to accomplish this. Although the recipients of many of these services, the students will also participate by giving back. The BRIDGES grant also aims to help students develop character and values with volunteering and community outreach to ‘give back’. A greater understanding of themselves and others will help the students feel more confident in their abilities. The HDS Foundation has participated in the Dan Marino Walkabout Autism for many years. The Dan Marino Foundation has created many programs for children and young adults with autism in our community. One of the best things about this fundraiser is that 25% of all monies raised by the HDS Contenders goes directly to The HDS Foundation. This is great for our organization because it enables us to continue to support and facilitate students and young adults with autism through our programs. The students become part of the solution and this empowers them to feel like they make a difference in the lives of others. If you would like to be the change please join our team! The HDS Contenders can be found at http://myhds.co/hdswalkabout.
This program will allow the students ample practice developing communication skills both verbal and non-verbal communication. Many of the activities will help the students engage in group activities such as outings to local businesses, having lunch together, and engaging in High School Activities such as Football Games, Home Coming, Prom, Clubs, etc.
The HDS Foundation is working with local groups to further their outings to include various aspects of their daily lives. This can include health and exercise, safety, entertainment, transportation, self-awareness, sports and hobbies, and others.
The Dan Marino Walkabout Autism fundraiser is one of the best activities that this community puts on. Not only are the participants exposed to the many community celebrities, and provided different fun family activities, music and food; they do so with the backdrop of...read more
Cypress Bay High School’s class of 2016 officially graduated on June 5at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center. With a class of 1,100+ and a stunning graduation rate of 95%, it is no surprise that the social skills class seniors all received diplomas; some were...read more
The night of May 28th, 2016, is one Cypress Bay High School's BRIDGES’ graduating class will not soon forget. The whole gang suited up in their finest attire to attend their senior prom. After a pre-prom party of refreshments and picture-taking at Foundation President...read more
On May 5th, 2016, the Cypress Bay High School BRIDGES class closed out the year with an HDS-sponsored party at Midtown Athletics. Although the main event of the day happened to be the party, the students also concluded their Social Skills curriculum with a tour of the...read more
At the 2016 Dan Marino WalkAbout Autism at Sun Life Stadium, Team Cypress Bay raised the most money for the cause, having brought in $12,780. Because of their success, the Team was to be gifted a prize of their choice. They all chose to invite Michael Marino, Dan...read more
On April 7th, 2016, the Social Skills class from Cypress Bay High School traveled to the Housing and Development Software main office in Weston, Florida for a tour of the grounds and a professional presentation given by HDS employees. This presentation aimed to give...read more