The Disability Action Center’s (DAC) Mission Transition Program is designed specifically for Marion County graduating seniors who are looking for support and direction in transitioning to work, school, and gaining independence following graduation. Graduating from high school for any young person and their parents can be a very exciting time, but also one filled with anxiety, stress, and often more questions than answers. For a young person with special needs and their family it can be even more challenging due to a perceived lack of opportunities available beside the traditional route of college or direct employment.
To better prepare these families, the DAC has incorporated transition services in many of our year round activities. Each Spring the Disability Action Center and Marion County Schools partner to offer the Annual Marion County School Transition Fair for all three high schools. Typically, more than 50 students, educators, staff, and parents attended the fair where 25 colleges, vocational schools, training providers, and agencies are represented.
As follow-up to the Transition Fair, the DAC sponsors the summer Mission Transition Program focusing on graduating seniors who received special services and need a little extra help after graduation. Mission Transition is free to all participants and includes one on one support from Disability Action Center staff, employment readiness, higher education and financial aid assistance, and family and individual workshops, Cash Stipends are also available (up to $100) to assist with an employment or education goals such as clothing, technology, or books.
DAC Staff works closely with the Marion County School system to identify students who will need additional support following graduation. DAC staff follows up with Transition Fair participants by mail, phone calls, and visits to facilitate their enrollment into Mission Transition. It is so vital to communicate with these families throughout the school year and to ensure that no one “fall through the cracks”. Upon graduation, DAC staff will arrange an intake meeting with the graduate and the family to set goals and discuss program offerings. Once intake and enrollment is complete, the scheduling and services is completely customized to the individual.