Program addresses students' special needs

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Student Amy Cortez shows off her kitchen skills at the Transitional Living Program’s Kennett Square location.

Special-needs students are getting special attention, thanks to the Chester County Intermediate Unit’s Transitional Living program.

During a typical week, a student will have worked at one of the program's job sites, visited community businesses, exercised at the YMCA, and spent the day at West Chester University with education majors who serve as mentors. The program is designed to help students aged 18 to 21 years, who are enrolled in a Chester County public school district, prepare for life after high school. Its main features include independent-living experiences, community interaction, self-care skill building, job training and work experience.

Instead of reporting to school each day, the students' home base is a house or apartment, depending on the program location. There, they assume shared responsibilities of adult living, such as household chores, meal preparation, and budgeting expenses. The program's first location was an apartment in downtown West Chester; it has since expanded to provide the same opportunities to students in southern Chester County with the addition of a Kennett Square location.

Student Amy Cortez, who has worked at Jennersville Hospital and Peebles, said she has also learned cooking and grocery-shopping skills. “My favorite part of the program is when we spend the day at West Chester University," she said. For more information on the Transitional Living Program, please visit http://www.cciu.org/TLP.

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