Life and Work Connections

Transition Network Summer Wrap-up

September 15, 2016

Transition Network, a special partnership with Columbia College, enables participants to attend classes taught by Life & Work Connections staff on the Columbia College campus. This summer was packed with learning and some fun, too.

two women listen as a landlord explains how an apartment lease works
Lena and Linda listen as the guest speaker explained the expectations of an apartment lease.

Apartment Planning

A goal of many Transition Network participants is gaining the skills to live in an apartment on their own. The apartment planning class teaches students what they need to know to have their own apartment. Topics include: how to find an apartment; how to find the best location for the individual; what to look for in a quality apartment; Missouri State Landlord and Tenant law, signing a lease; budgeting, and home and community safety.

The class connects with local property management companies to visit and learn from them directly about the expectations of the landlord, tenant and the importance of understanding the lease. There were three students participating in this summer’s class.

“I’m ready to get out of my mom’s house and get my own place,” says Lena, a participant in this summer’s Apartment Planning class. “I learned I need to keep the apartment clean. The class kind of woke me up that I’m doing what I need to be doing like housecleaning and laundry on my own. I really listened to the [guest speaker] landlord, when we visited the apartment.”

“The class is a great opportunity to educate the students on what it takes to have their own apartment,” says Christi Brown, Community Skills Specialist and Transition Network instructor. “Students may not realize all the ‘behind the scenes’ support they are getting at home. I get the students thinking about who is doing the daily tasks for them, what skills they use currently or need to learn to be prepared in a few months or years to have their own place.”

Sex, Love, and Not So Much Rock N’ Roll

The Sex, Love, and Not So Much Rock N’ Roll class taught general sexual education and shared information about healthy relationships. The curriculum, designed specifically for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, encourages the students to ask questions and to be comfortable with the information that may be uncomfortable to talk about, but important to know. The atmosphere for each class was relaxed and fun. Five students participated this summer.

“This class helped me learn things I did not know before,” says Jesse. The goal of the course is to have each participant complete the class knowing more than when they had walked in.

“I loved teaching this class because I could see that the participants felt more comfortable being able to talk about anything from anatomy to dating by the end of the class,” says Rachel Murphy, Life Skills Trainer and course instructor. “It was not the typical Sex Education class, it was fun and interactive; each person had a chance to ask questions and give input.”

six people pose for a picture outside of sparky's ice cream shop
Navigator’s Club spent a class session exploring the District and made a stop at Sparky’s ice cream shop.

Navigator’s Club

Navigator’s Club taught students skills needed to go out and experience their community, and put those skills to use by exploring different places in Columbia. The course covers how to use the COMO Connect city bus system, how to be safe in the community, and how to socialize with others. The outings were all different, from experiencing nature to walking around the District. By far the most popular of the summer classes, nine participants completed the Navigator’s Club class.

“Navigator’s Club was fun because I got to go out into the community and do things,” says Josh. “I liked learning about how to get around Columbia!”

“Teaching the Navigator’s Club class was the highlight of my summer classes!” exclaimed Rachel. “In the classroom, everyone talked and connected to one another and enjoyed participating in discussions. Each discussion let everyone talk about their lives and how it connected to the class. It encouraged socialization not only out in the community, but among each other. The outings were always fun and diverse. My favorite was the one when we walked around downtown Columbia and let everyone pick different stores they wanted to go into. Participants showed me stores I had never been in before! It was a learning experience for all of us.”