What is BRIDGES?
This community based program is designed to assist high school students with physical or learning disabilities transition from the safety of the school environment to the more complex working world, educational environment, and/or adulthood. Each student will learn independent living skills and vocational skills through hands-on curriculum designed for students’ specific needs. The counselors use these skills to empower students by developing awareness of opportunities available and exploring ways in which their goals may be achieved.
Who is eligible?
High school students attending FUSD and Fresno County Schools whom have been identified as having learning needs or other types of disabilities.
When and where are classes conducted?
The counselors travel to the school sites regularly and meet with the students. A follow-up phase takes place for six months after graduation to further facilitate the transition to school or the workplace and make the transition as smooth as possible.
What topics are covered?
1. Independent Living Skills: Focuses on relevant everyday issues for the student. - Money Management - Self-Esteem and Self-Awareness - Decision Making Skills - Household Management - Attendant Issues - Transportation Options - Identification Cards - Nutrition - Time Management - Consumer Rights - Self Advocacy - Peer Relations
2. Vocational Skills/Career Counseling: Options available after high school; work, vocational training, or higher education to achieve their goals and develop to their full potential in order to someday compete in the job market. - Career Exploration - Goal Setting - Job Seeking Skills - Filling Out Applications - Resumes - Cover Letters - References - Assistive Technology - Interview Techniques - Proper Behavior on the Job. - Disability Related Work Issues - Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
3. Support for students who choose further education: - College Applications - College Support Services - Financial Aid Resources - Other Educational Resources
How can a student be referred to the transition program?
- School Administrators
- The Students Themselves
What is so unique about BRIDGES program?
- It is the only program of its kind in Fresno County. A public agency outside the school districts visits the school and provides students with some “real world” knowledge and disability specific advocacy skills.
- No grades are given so there is no feeling of failure, only encouragement and reinforcement.
What are the goals of the program?
- Promoting independence through knowledge and support of family, experienced role models, peer counselors, and utilizing community resources. - Providing the students with the knowledge needed in order to live independently as possible.
- Providing the tools needed for them to make independent decisions on every day issues. - As a result of time and effort spent in the program, students leave high school better equipped to face the challenges of life. They begin to view their potential positively and their disability as an asset.