Washington county program for disabled youth, young adults aims to help them set and achieve vocational goals
Dream Builders Alliance, a program helping youth and young adults (age 16 to 21), with a range of disabilities, set and accomplish vocational goals, is reaching out to Washington County.
The program begins October 22 and the deadline for the mentor application ends October 15.
Dream Builders is a program branched off of the Oregon non-profit Community Vision. The organization “works to make Oregon a place where people with developmental disabilities can live, work, and thrive in whatever communities they choose,” as written on their website.
The program depends heavily on the volunteers and mentors, who receive small stipends. But, it also received a two-year $80,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust.
The participating youth and young adults meet with a mentor for 15 hours a month for 9 months. Program coordinator Allison Falleur said meeting structure and location are tailored to the individual’s goals and dreams, and whether they are seeking continued education or a job.
The program also provides monthly trainings for parents of participating youth. The trainings cover numerous topics, such as housing and vocational options; financial eligibility for participants 18 and older; and safety in familiar and unfamiliar social situations.
Falleur said the program aims to build self confidence by showing the participants that their disability is not their identity. “If you’ve been labeled your entire life by your disability, sometimes you don’t even know what yourself identity is besides your label,” she said.
She also said that most schools that provide programs aiming to help those with disabilities are group-focused, rather than focused on individuals’ goals, and often have limited funding. She is passionate about furthering the possibilities for youth and young adults with disabilities.
“I would like to see kids who believe they can do anything, who understand the value of supports in doing whatever they need and can truly reach for anything they want to do,” Falleur said.
Mentor applicants can turn in completed forms to Community Vision’s Portland offices, 1750 S.W. Skyline Blvd. Suite 102, or via email.
For more information, contact Falleur at Allison@cvision.org or 503-292-4964, ext. 116.
For more information about becoming a mentor, contact mentor coordinator Rachel Eaton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-292-4964, ext. 125.