Businesses and agencies recently came together to give students with special needs a chance to learn about options available to help make it in the adult world.
The annual Seymour Transition Fair was conducted earlier this month at Seymour High School’s auxiliary gym. Students from county schools and their parents and special needs classrooms were invited to attend to help teach students about options available upon graduation from high school.
“Often, our students feel isolated and underheard. We try to show them the opportunities in the community that are available,” said Susan Spurgeon, transition coordinator for Seymour Community Schools.
Spurgeon said this is the first time in the three years she has organized the fair that students from Brownstown Central High School and Medora Community Schools have been present.
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Spurgeon said the transition fair aims to introduce students with special needs and their families with vendors and community providers that can help each other.
Among the vendors attending the event was a new program called Erskine Green Training. Program organizers said it is the first of its kind in the nation, providing postsecondary training for individuals with special needs in restaurant, hotel and other vocations. The program works closely with The Arc of Indiana.
“The end goal of our program is to find employment for individuals with disabilities,” said Jeanne Scheets, spokeswoman at the event with the program.
Scheets said she hoped to introduce people to the program at the event, meet new people and share information.
“(Learning these skills) to find employment is a great challenge to many individuals, but it is needed to lead a full complete adult life,” Scheets said.
Dana Killey, co-owner of Hair Force Academy in Seymour, sat at her company’s booth surrounded by a model head of hair and trappings of the beautician field.
“We’re here to tell them what we can offer them,” Killey said. “We get to see people who might not otherwise think of us as an option.”
The representatives present were selected by a transition council, which is open to anyone interested and includes students. The main duty of the council is to put together the transition fair and invite vendors to attend.
Group members collect donations for the fair, and each have a list of vendors who they are responsible for overseeing.
The group is open to anyone that wants to get involved by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Everyone pitches in, and in the end, it comes together,” Spurgeon said. “It is a lot of work, but it’s for a good reason.”