Back To School and Showing the World We Are All People With Ability
With September already upon us, we are in the midst of the back-to-school season. It’s a time for excitement, anticipation, and new beginnings as every student gets ready to start a brand-new year of growth and development. At Triangle, Inc., it’s no different. Several of our programs partner with more than 24 school districts, private/specialty schools, and post-secondary programs, where we provide a multitude of different services and opportunities for students with disabilities.
These services include EPIC (Empowering People for Inclusive Communities) self-advocacy and youth trainings, Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), Triangle Abuse Prevention and Safety (TAPS) classes, and Triangle’s School to Career program. Each of these programs offers a variety of different services to help students gain important tools they need to achieve their individual and unique goals.
EPIC (Empowering People for Inclusive Communities)
EPIC partners with public, private, and specialty schools to offer students with a wide range of disabilities trainings that help develop self-advocacy skills that encourage youth to find their voices and empowers them to navigate all facets of life with confidence. Additionally, EPIC provides ableism and disability inclusion trainings for schools’ faculty that help teachers and staff to successfully build an inclusive environment for students of all abilities.
Outside the classroom, EPIC’s flagship Service Warrior program provides a fantastic opportunity for young leaders with disabilities to devote a year of their lives to learning about and serving their local communities. EPIC builds partnerships with local schools to identify young leaders who may be a perfect match for the program.
Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)
Pre-ETS offers students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) learning sessions, vocational training, and engagement opportunities that prepare them for future success in the workforce and/or higher education. A combination of classroom exploration, out-of-school trainings, and group work experiences allow students to learn more about themselves and their professional goals.
Students involved in Pre-ETS receive work place readiness trainings and self-advocacy trainings that teaches them important skills for the work place, and helps them find their voice and independence. Also available to them are different counseling services. These include job exploration counseling and post-secondary education counseling. There is even the opportunity for a work-based learning experience, which is designed to allow students to practice soft skills in a work setting.
Triangle Abuse Prevention and Safety (TAPS)
TAPS provides an array of trainings that empower people with disabilities and teaches them about abuse prevention, healthy relationships, and personal safety. TAPS offers these trainings to students with disabilities in middle school, high school, and transition-age cohorts (18-22 years-old) enrolled in specialty programs.
Led by longtime abuse prevention specialists Adriana Li and Michael Perry, this program formerly known as IMPACT:Ability, is now integrated into Triangle’s Quality Assurance and Clinical Services Department. This new collaborative approach is leading to innovative new ways of incorporating TAPS programming across many of Triangle’s school-based services. In addition to our evidence-based abuse prevention and safety programming, TAPS also offers course that covers online safety, peer to peer positive school climate initiatives, and workplace safety lessons.
Triangle’s School to Career
Triangle’s School to Career program offers services to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help expand their career experience with the goal of securing competitive employment. Triangle partners with several local school districts to provide employment-focused programming for transition-age students prior to turning 22. By engaging young adults with these services earlier in life, Triangle and its district partners are directly addressing a longstanding barrier to employment success for people with disabilities.
School to Career emphasizes professional growth for all students through goal setting, resume building, mock interviews, application completion, job coaching and mentoring, as well as the important skills of MBTA travel-training, self-advocacy, personal exploration and more. This program allows these students to develop a work history and employment skills before adulthood, in a community-based learning environment, and it allows for a smooth transition from school to career that avoids an interruption in an individual’s services and growth.
As we all gather our number two pencils and color-coded folders, let’s remember that the back-to-school season is so much more. This is a time for growth, learning, and empowerment. and this year is going to be no different as these students pursue their future goals of a career or post-secondary education. Triangle is committed to helping students with disabilities feel empowered as they pursue their future personal and professional goals.