College Life Program

Upstate Cerebral Palsy and Suny Polytechnic Institute joined efforts today to launch a new program. Eyewitness news reporter Grace Fernandez saw first hand how the two institutions are working together to expose students to new barriers.
It's the college life program, literally giving upstate cerebral palsy students the chance to have the college campus experience. It's a program meant to help them develop life, work and social skills. "It's UCP staff using our space to deliver their programming, but they have the opportunity to come to events and be with our students," said Suny Poly Community and Behavioral Health Program Coordinator Veronica Tichenor. She says the program is a win-win situation. "it's not just beneficial to UCP students to be with us, it's wonderful for our students to have the opportunity to interact with them and to learn with and from them."
College life started as a pilot program nearly a year ago, but the success of the students helped launch the program into full effect today. UCP Director of Vocational Services, Dawn Gentile says the different types of programs have helped the students develop skills they otherwise wouldn't . "If they want to do work or just build their social and vocational skills this is an opportunity for them to interact on campus working in different departments- working with different students."
It's been a teaching program for Suny students as well, giving them a chance to develop hands-on experience within their careers. Gentile says in the short amount of time, the program has gotten a lot of positive feedback. "In the three days I've seen engagement on both ends, in both the students that we brought on campus and in three days I've had four Suny students approach me saying they want to help and they want to be part of the program."
As of now they only have eight UCP students participating in the program but hope to keep expanding as things progress.

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