A program is underway at The University of Alabama that allows students with intellectual disabilities to have a college experience, through living in a dorm all summer, attending classes with the general student population and having many independent experiences.
The Summer Bridge program is an extension of the CrossingPoints program, which runs through the academic year, serving students ages 18 through 21 in the Tuscaloosa area. Summer Bridge gives college-age students a chance to see if higher education is something they might want to explore further, by blending them into the college experience, as well as teaching them about independent living and employment.
Summer Bridge participant Olivia Baker says she appreciates the experiences she has through the program.
“Learn how to be independent, living independently and working independently, traveling, going to work by yourself and classes,” Baker said in describing the skills she is learning.
The program is now in its third summer, hosting students from across Alabama, as well as from other states.
Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority works closely with Summer Bridge, providing recreational experiences for students.
“One of the tenets that’s often forgotten is social and recreational opportunities, so Park and Recreation has stepped in and try to provide those experiences for these guys,” Tuscaloosa County PARA Therapeutic Recreation Director Keith Jenkins said.
Learn more about Summer Bridge at crossingpoints.ua.edu.
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