“It was tough graduating. Usually graduation is a happy time… but it’s tough because at age 21, the help seems to stop. We’re trying to change that though with the adult program. Life is going to go on. Things can go back to the way they were.” – Tina, mother of Kingsway graduate Alex.
Students like Alex, a 2015 Kingsway graduate, need programming that will guide them into the later years of their lives. Alex thrived while attending Kingsway, developing language skills, learning a large vocabulary and excelling at our Community Based Instruction (CBI) job sites. With additional programming, there’s no telling how much more she can accomplish in her life.
When looking ahead in life, sometimes it is important to take a few minutes to look back at how far you’ve come. Some may think about their successes and what they have learned from them. Some may think about the people who have helped them along the way. Some do both! While the entire Kingsway staff is proud to look at our accomplishments over the past fifty years, as well as the smiling faces that have supported us along the way, we set our sights on new goals and expanding our presence within the community.
As you may have heard, Kingsway is in the process of expanding its mission by developing a program for adults with special needs. This program seeks to bridge individuals from their high school years to independent community involvement by focusing not only on facilities-based programming but especially vocational supports for individuals working in the community.
Kingsway is known to be in the forefront of Community Based Instruction and meaningful transition programming for students with special needs. Given Kingsway’s expertise and experience, including job coaching and behavior and therapeutic support in supported employment settings, it is most beneficial for our graduates that Kingsway to continue to serve them beyond their educational years. The adult service world needs innovative programming that Kingsway is well-versed in providing.
Closing the Gap
Presently, there is a gap in services between intensive facilities-based day programming and supported employment opportunities in the community. In order to be effective, adult programs need to be able to meet the individual needs of each client. Through the development of authentic community-based employment sites, Kingsway has solidified professional relationships throughout the community that lead to employment opportunities after graduation. There is a tremendous need for community-based providers that offer innovative vocationally-oriented programming coupled with safety, support and supervision, and Kingsway is best positioned to provide those services.
The Kingsway Adult Program will be the most comprehensive and effective provider of services to adults with cognitive, physical, medical, behavioral and emotional challenges age 21 and over. An emphasis will be placed on building person-centered programs that reflect individual needs, as well as utilizing specifically-designed programs and supports that reflect those needs. The Kingsway Adult Program will provide a myriad of services with the intention of promoting activities that facilitate independent participation in the community, especially with respect to employment opportunities and where necessary, family support. Finally, the Kingsway Adult Program is committed to working closely with like-minded organizations to accomplish our vision.
The Kingsway Adult Program will offer a wide variety of individualized options in both natural community settings and facilities-based programs. A primary component of the program’s vision is the knowledge that all participants can work, and so an emphasis is placed on vocational training and employment opportunities. Wherever possible, the program will establish community-based business partnerships to maximize potential for employment. Recognizing that not all participants are ready for full-time employment, day habilitation programs will be offered that focus on improving such important skill sets as activities of daily living, socialization and communication, as well as increasing participation in recreation and leisure opportunities. All participants of the Kingsway Adult Program will be able to access our full range of services to best meet their individualized programming needs. The program will provide a variety of services including, but not limited to, community-based and inclusion services, natural supports, assistive technology, nursing services, behavioral supports, occupational, physical and speech/language therapy services as well as social work and support services for family members. In addition, the program will provide services focused on career planning, prevocational training and supported employment.
How Can You Help?
Funding for the Kingsway Adult Program will come from a combination of state and federal funds through Medicaid, The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities and the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, but that will only cover a portion of the full cost of the program. It is also our hope that other community resources in the form of grants, monetary donations, in-kind donations, legacies and bequests will be procured to support these services.
In order to fully support this program and its infrastructure, significant funds and donations are needed. If you or someone you know has a connection with a foundation or granting entity, please let me know!
We are also seeking items to fully furnish our program. These include, but are not limited to:
● Furniture (classroom, office, lounge, collaboration and peer mentoring areas, simulated apartments)
● Kitchen equipment
● Therapeutic equipment (gym equipment, sensory motor room)
● Career Center Partnerships (Opportunities for local companies to set up a scaled down simulation of their business so that program clients can access career experiences and training, but within Kingsway’s walls)
As we proceed with our operational planning process, you will be hearing more about our adult program, as well as other expansion opportunities that we have projected as part of our future. In the meantime, if you have questions or are interested in discussing donation options, please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org