The Arc Oneida-Lewis

Project Name: Life After High School

Contact Information:
Joanne Donaruma
(315) 272-1617
245 Genesee St
Utica, NY 13501

Project Goals

  • Each individual in the program will be given the tools to achieve a successful outcome through the development of goals, objectives, and action plans that will drive their successful outcomes;
  • Students will receive a job more expediently after high school graduation than their peers. Students will be able to make better life choices;
  • Students will demonstrate skills that they are able to live more independently;
  • Students will rely less on their parents for financial support;
  • Students will be able to name services available to them;
  • Students will be able to advocate for themselves; and
  • Students will be able to develop their own “plan for success” with staff oversight.

Project Description

The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter provides a one-year program for youth with significant disabilities who are in their last year of high school and are expected to graduate or exit high school following completion of the project year. The student is exposed to a world of new and continued learning opportunities both on a college campus and in the community so they gain the skills and confidence to function as independently as possible, once they leave the supports they are entitled to in high school.

Following a period of assessment and training, the individual leaves the program with a written plan that includes action steps that move them through their transition from high school to work and adult living. It was developed to help youth with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who work with them to meet the challenge that transition from the secondary school system brings. Information and resources are made available to the individuals as they execute their plan. They are taught the skills of self-determination and self-advocacy, for these skills will help them speak out, for, and obtain the services and accommodations that will help them to succeed in their endeavors. The students in the project are introduced to the adult service systems and natural supports that can assist them with seeking post-secondary training, employment, and services such as transportation assistance, independent living, socialization support or medical care.

Activities include experiences on the college campus, in an Arc transitional living setting, and with local community employers. This program is designed to provide experience outside of a traditional classroom. Instruction in natural settings allows the students to learn a variety of life skills in a real world situation.