Finding new ways to learn through Viscardi’s BRIDGE program
After Laura graduated from the Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center and left the traditional education system, she and her family sought a program that would encourage her to remain active and continue learning. They found what they were looking for this year when Viscardi launched its new Center-based BRIDGE program, which offers young adults over 21 with varying care needs the opportunity to focus on a diverse range of activities that enhance skills development.
Laura, who uses a speech-generating device to communicate, credits BRIDGE for getting her up and out each morning. Encouraged by staff to voice her opinions and be her own advocate, she feels more socially stimulated and independent than she was before starting the program.
“My peers and I have been much happier since joining BRIDGE. We like sharing ideas and planning weekly activities together,” she said. “I have recently been enjoying taking cooking classes, learning to use technology efficiently, and researching topics that interest me.”
Laura says she especially looks forward to Thursdays and Fridays each week, because that’s when the group takes daytrips around Long Island and New York City. On several recent excursions, she had the opportunity to get a look at how different businesses and professionals operate behind the scenes. Some highlights include a tour of Etsy’s corporate headquarters, spending an afternoon with the team at John’s Crazy Socks, and attending a taping of one of her favorite shows — Live with Kelly and Ryan.
This fall, options are endless for Laura and her peers as they strategize ways to stay connected with their new contacts and strengthen their network within the local community.
“In the BRIDGE program, we don’t feel restricted just because we have a disability or use a wheelchair. It allows us to be as active as we want to be. Never believe that just because we have a disability, we aren’t able to think outside the box.”