May 20, 2012 9:26 PM
This week, our featured charity is Oakwood Healthcare Foundation.
Living with a disability is a daily struggle for teens and young adults with special needs. Not only do they have to cope with the cognitive, communication and physical challenges associated with having a disability, but also social and emotional challenges. Many have limited access to resources once they graduate from high school. They also often have little experience in self-advocacy and leadership, skills necessary for negotiating new responsibilities in all areas of their lives. Research shows that people with disabilities who take part in leadership programs are more successful in postsecondary education, living independently and the workplace. The Teens Take Over (TTO) program at Oakwood’s Center for Exceptional Families (CEF) is a leadership-mentoring/advocacy program for disabled teens and young adults. The TTO program empowers young people with disabilities through the support of peers, family and group mentors. Teens learn skills of advocacy, self-empowerment and leadership to change the trajectory of their life experience from one of powerlessness and dependency to self-determination and autonomy. Oakwood’s CEF is an acclaimed clinical service providing coordinated care for children with special needs and their families. Each year, the Center assists more than 2,700 patients living in eleven counties in southeastern Michigan