Self-reliance through special education
DENHAM SPRINGS - Special education students in the Livingston Parish Public Education Community Program learn to live on their own and hold a job before graduating.
The program allows students to get real life experience in one of 23 participating businesses, some of which even hire their students full time after the program is over. Louise Hines graduated last year and is now a full-time employee at Open Door Day Care Center.
"Given the opportunities she was given in high school she was able to become independent in that area and she was able to see the skills that she had and know what direction she wanted to go," said Dr. Jeanne Ebey with Livingston Parish Special Education.
"She can love them no matter if they're cranky, if they're happy, if they're grumpy, if they're having a bad day at home, if they didn't sleep well, and Louise can love them just where they are that day," explained Rita Jackson, Director at Open Door Day Care Center.
Besides job skills, students in the program also learn life skills at an on-campus apartment. They learn how to cook, clean, wash clothes, and how to celebrate the holidays safely. Students are also taught the importance of making lists for what they'll need for the week, and are taken on trips to the store to learn how to shop.
Jackson says she hopes they get more students like Louise to come through the program. More than 100 students are enrolled this year.