Current AmeriCorps VISTA Member: Stefanie Perosa
Currently recruiting 2 VISTA members for the 2018-2019 service year.
The University of Tennessee’s FUTURE Program is a two-year certificate program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) including autism and is designated as a Comprehensive Transition Program by the U.S. Department of Education. FUTURE is part of an international trend in services for young adults with I/DD and addresses a significant social problem: inclusive education is widely available to children with special needs, but few post-secondary educational opportunities exist for these students. Additionally, there are often lengthy gaps between the cessation of child services and the availability of adult services. In many cases students with I/DD graduate from high school and simply sit at home.
FUTURE students develop skills which enable them to be more productive and valuable community members. Essential components of FUTURE include: classes focusing on career exploration/workplace skills, digital literacy, and life skills; structured internships; accommodations and supports to ensure student success in classes offered in a wide range of university programs and departments; and the opportunity to participate in campus activities and events. FUTURE is an inclusion program with fellow undergraduate students supporting our students to be fully integrated into the campus. Since its inception, well over 200 undergraduate students from more than 25 majors have served as peer mentors.
In addition to the current VISTA position (1), UT FUTURE will host a second VISTA member who will be proposing, designing, creating, analyzing social media and marketing campaigns. These campaigns will help programmatic efforts to increase enrollment of FUTURE students, recruit peer mentors, and overall increase the visibility of the program around campus, in Knoxville, and throughout Tennessee. Additionally, these efforts will give the program potential access to new funding sources and expand awareness of this specific post-secondary education program for families in Knox County and the surrounding counties. These efforts will increase capacity for a program that targets families who have not traditionally saved money for their student with IDD and/or ASD to attend college. Official VISTA Assignment Description (2) for this position will be available soon.
Partner Website: http://futureut.utk.edu/