As part of her education at the Seagull Academy for Independent Living, Christy Wester worked in the kitchen at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. During the recent commencement ceremony, she shared how impactful the experience had been.
Now a recent graduate, her internship has led to full-time employment at a local elementary school cafeteria. It’s one of many success stories made possible through Seagull Academy’s supported employment program.
Recently, the program received a $10,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, part of the foundation’s 2017 Workforce Development and Basic Needs Grants totaling a $1 million investment in South Florida.
“Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s support of Seagull Services has a profound impact on the lives of young people with disabilities as they enter the workforce in their transition from school to independent living,” said Barbara Nurenberg, president and CEO of Seagull Services. “Through this program, our students are getting the work experience and guidance they need in order to become great employees and embrace our local work force.”
As part of their school program, Seagull Academy’s students hold internships with several area business partners, including Marriott, Publix, the Joseph L. Morse Geriatric Center and Jack the Bike Man.
“The grant helps pay for everything from staff supervision to transportation to work sites and other expenses that school district funds can’t cover,” Education Director Linda Moore said. “Each program starts with some type of supervised internship. Supervision is gradually reduced to the point where the students can become independent.”
The Seagull Academy for Independent Living is a charter school serving the unique needs of students with significant intellectual disabilities that include significant learning challenges. Established in 2002, SAIL offers an educational program for middle and high school students, which blends traditional academics with practical life and vocational skills. SAIL is a program of Seagull Services.
For more information about SAIL, call (561) 540-8110 or visit www.seagull.org.