Emerging Eagles Soar at Helen Keller School of Alabama
By Amy Shelly, Academic Director, Helen Keller School
The Helen Keller School of Alabama (HKS) believes that our students are limitless! Each day, we provide safe opportunities for students to develop the academic and functional skills for life after graduation. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to increase our students' skills and abilities. Doing so led us to develop the new HKS Emerging Eagles program.
Emerging Eagles is designed for students aged 18 to 21 who have completed their high school academic requirements. “Our goal in the Emerging Eagles program is for students to increase their self-determination skills so that they can be as independent as possible and live a life that brings them joy,” said Shannon Dodd, Transition Coordinator, HKS. “This program is designed to teach independent living, functional academics, recreation and leisure, cooking and job skills. It also teaches our students to become active members of their communities through volunteering and getting to know others.”
Emerging Eagles works with the HKS Student Life Department to expand the curriculum into the residential setting. The program’s students who live in the HKS
Independent Living dorms practice daily the skills learned. The program also is working on a partnership with Community Coffee to create a coffee shop on campus. This partnership will allow students to gain skills related to the food industry to be better equipped to gain successful employment after graduation.
The Emerging Eagles program exposes our students to a variety of opportunities to develop personal interests through activities like visiting museums, attending sporting events and exploring hobbies. Not only does this help the students discover their interests, but it also allows them to interact with others in a relaxed environment, develop soft skills and learn to express themselves as individuals.
“We believe that their participation in the Emerging Eagles program will impact the rest of their lives,” added Dodd. “We can not wait to see everything our students accomplish and want to continue helping them see that they are limitless."