The lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are being changed at The Lifelong Learning Center. The motto of the day habilitation activity center is “Where Abilities Meet Possibilities.” Through their daily activities, Vocational Skills Training Center, community outings, and summer camps, The Lifelong Learning Center is helping their attendees achieve endless possibilities.
“We are really passionate about helping individuals be independent, encouraging them and uplifting them,” Ashley Branch, Lifelong Learning Center administrative assistant said.
The Lifelong Learning Center opened in April of 2017 and is the sister company of Avant Residential and Community Services. The day habilitation program offers Katy and surrounding area families a place for their loved one with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to flourish and have unique experiences.
The Lifelong Learning Center offers individuals who participate in the day habilitation center the opportunity to volunteer witching the community, attend group outings, and gain cooking and baking skills within the LLC Café. Each day The Lifelong Learning Center strives to create an inviting atmosphere for learning. These individuals will learn new life and social skills, while also strengthening established life skills. Attendees are also given the opportunity to learn job skills through the Vocational Skills Training Center, so they can develop the necessary skills for the workplace they desire.
“Our goal is to equip individuals who want to gain work and life skills outside of day habilitation, and not just learn the skills but have a job to use those skills,” Ashley said. “Creating their own independence is really important and for many of these individuals, part of that is having their own money.”
The Lifelong Learning Center has internships set up with local restaurants, stores, churches, and nursing homes as part of the Vocational Skills Training Center. They believe in their attendees’ ability to work and want to make it possible through community partnerships.
“We are working on expanding those community partnerships with local businesses to set up internship opportunities and even jobs,” Ashley said. “We are here to help our clients train for their role, so they are ready to work for the business.”
Through community partnerships, the individuals will then go to the business, while accompanied by a staff member, to further practice those skills in an internship. The goal is after the internship period is complete the individual will be offered a job with the business or similar business.
Outside of the regular day habilitation program, The Lifelong Learning Center offers a Specials Needs Summer Camp. The day camp is for individuals who are enrolled in school and are looking for a safe and fun environment to express themselves and meet new friends. It is open for ages 10-22 and starts at 9 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, extended hours are also available.
The first session is from June 3 to June 28 and the second session is July 8 until August 2. The Lifelong Learning Center is willing to be flexible to meet the needs of the family with full-time and part-time spots available for both sessions.
“When they are here there are various activities, they will do every day,” Ashley said. “We still teach them life skills and they have a curriculum, but it isn’t as structured as the day program, because our main focus is that they enjoy their summer break.”
There is a lot of fun at the summer camp. Summer camp attendees will do science experiments, where they will make slime or volcanoes, and also go on two to three field trips a week. The field trips range from going to the aquarium and zoo, to restaurants, the movies, and bowling.
“We do a fun restaurant week where the attendees go to restaurants and make a dish, like tortillas at a Mexican restaurant,” Ashley said. “They eat a meal, walk through the kitchen and meet the chefs.”
The Lifelong Learning Center is close to a community park, which they utilize for outings to go swimming, play mini-golf or go on a picnic. Students looking to work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can also come to The Lifelong Learning Center to volunteer for the summer.
“We are always, always, always looking for volunteers,” Ashley said. “We love to have students and individuals from the community come volunteer with us. They can go on the field trips too at no cost. We will just add them right in with our team.”
Individuals must be 12 years old or older to come volunteer, and do not have to be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers do need to be comfortable working with individuals with special needs, but do not have to a large amount of experience. Interested individuals can visit texaslifelonglearning.com to fill out a volunteer application or contact Ebony Young at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The impact The Lifelong Learning Center is making changes not only the lives of the individual with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities but also their families. All of their programs carry their motto “Where Abilities Meet Possibilities,” and it is creating endless possibilities.
“Just because they have a disability doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of achieving their dreams,” Ashley said. “Helping them come to the realization that they are capable of achieving new skills is very important to us and is something we are constantly working towards.”
For more information about how to partner with the Lifelong Learning Center to increase their impact, visit their website texaslifelonglearning.com or call 346-387-6955. To learn more about their services and summer camp, or schedule a tour email email@example.com, visit the website, or call 346-387-6955. You can also send them a message on their Facebook page – The Lifelong Learning Center.