Gabriel, age 28, is a proud Ivymount School alum celebrating seven full years as a federal employee. He works in the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center’s medical records department, where he was hired after completing the Project SEARCH program through Ivymount School and SEEC. Gabriel lives in his own apartment and, in addition to his job, enjoys reading, creative writing, theater and music as well as keeping up with current events.
Gabriel’s mother Lisa praises Ivymount’s vision in establishing its partnership with Project SEARCH. “The program has shaped Gabriel’s future. He does important work and does it well,” she says. “Everyone benefits when people with disabilities are contributing members of the workforce. It’s a win-win.” Gabriel, likewise, shares that he is grateful for his Ivymount School experience and the opportunities provided by Project SEARCH.
Rebecca is 25 and volunteers part-time at a local food pantry with support from a job coach. Her mom appreciates the work Ivymount did preparing Rebecca for the “real world.” Although COVID delayed Rebecca’s plans to work full-time at a grocery store, Rebecca loves her day program where she works on employment and travel skills, and volunteers at Food for Friends. She is active within her church, loves going out to dinner with her girlfriends, and recently won two gold medals and a silver medal for Special Olympics basketball. Her mom says of Rebecca’s life, “She loves it, and I love that she loves it!”
Since 2011, Ivymount has interviewed 117 alumni families to better understand what post-school life looks like and how we can better prepare students and families for the transition to adult life. Although the COVID years were hard on families, most of the alumni who have participated in our follow-up interviews report that they live rich and varied lives. More than half work in volunteer or paid jobs. Most engage in structured social activities like Special Olympics and social events for young adults with disabilities.
While 75% of our alumni live at home with their parents, quite a few are now in supported living, where they share apartments with one or more roommates. Many have attended programs like Project SEARCH and MOST to expand their job readiness skills.
Life after Ivymount includes many achievements and continued learning and growth.
Read more about how Ivymount established its Project SEARCH program to help make employment a reality for students.