DREAM Program Welcomes Students
with Intellectual Disabilities to College This Fall

6-23-06


Students and mentors who will participate in MCCC's new DREAM program got together on campus during a program reception on June 23. From left, standing, are mentors Albert Giple and Jessica Winslow, DREAM student Michael Toft, mentor Joshua Stanlaw, DREAM student Andrew Zawada, and mentors Warren Schaeffer and Daniela Provost (a part-time Special Services staff member). In the front row, from left, are DREAM students Andre Borges, Stephanie Borges, Jackie Applebaum and John McCormack.

West Windsor, NJ: Michael Toff taught himself Latin. John McCormack recently won a silver medal in track. Andre Borges is interested in mechanical engineering, and Stephanie Borges writes children's literature. While these students are talented and engaged, they would not traditionally have been slated for college. All have intellectual disabilities.

Through a new grant-funded pilot program, Mercer County Community College is welcoming these students to college this fall. Each will develop a personalized schedule of pre-college and college courses based on their interests and built around their specific needs. Courses can be audited or taken for credit.

According to Dr. Sue Onaitis, who coordinates the program, "DREAM is very individualized. Each student is unique and will select the courses, challenges and level of assistance they need."

In addition to the college's Special Services staff members, helping the DREAM students to succeed will be MCCC college student mentors from programs such as Education and Psychology. They will provide support services including orientation, accompanying DREAM students to class, and giving assistance with class work.

DREAM is a demonstration project funded by a grant from Laura and Steve Riggio, through the National Down Syndrome Society. Mercer County Community College and The College of New Jersey each received $50,000 grants to develop model programs.

For more information call 609-570-3422.

Read Newsweek's feature story "Another Broken Barrier" here

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