Independence College… Never Stop Learning

This article is part of the “Stories the Inspire – Independence” series describing the many ways St. Louis Center is helping residents reach their potential through the cultivation of personal INDEPENDENCE.

Purpose, Confidence, and Growth

These three principles have laid the groundwork for an exciting new era at St. Louis Center. Ten residents started a journey in August 2021 that would teach them new skills helping them to have more independence. With the growth of the Village, it was a big dream to have some of the homes for residents who are more independent using more of their skills and less supervision. That dream has now become a reality.

“It has been such an honor to see their growth, empowerment, and take-control attitudes. I love listening to them share their independence stories.” – Sheryl Mohr

The Concept Behind Independence College

Sheryl Mohr, Social Services Supervisor at St. Louis Center, worked diligently to create programing for the residents to learn the skills necessary for furthering their independence. With a bachelor’s degree in social work and an MBA in health administration, Sheryl used her expert knowledge to craft a lesson plan that would best teach independence in a manner that was understandable by many learning levels. Students met twice a week for four months. One day was lessons and the next was putting those newly learned skills to work. Sheryl was mindful of opportunities to give value and purpose to the students of Independence College.

People want to feel success and deserve the opportunity.

Independence College Overview

Independence College gained its name by a vote from the residents. This four-month program helped students to hone their independence skills. The lesson plan was focused around things people do in a community. Through teamwork the student residents learned skills that people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) may not normally know. These skills included tasks such as – making a meal plan, finding and reading recipes, shopping for groceries, making lists, how to mail a letter, laundry basics, fire safety, and many other important things. Each task is set up to be mindful of opportunities that give value and purpose.

Graduation and Beyond

Graduation means residents are ready to spread their independence wings and start trying things more on their own. This also means they will be able to live in a more independent home. A group of residents have already been trying this concept out. A group of women have moved into “Mike’s House” where they are doing more tasks on their own and have less supervision. Residents are happy to gain this sense of independence and overall are more joyful.

Read more Stories of Inspiration – INDEPENDENCE

79% of donations received go to the care of the Center’s residents.

According to the 2020 audit, St. Louis Center administrative and overhead expenses were only 21%, in line with well-managed nonprofit best practices. You can be confident that your donation to the Center is going to good use. St. Louis Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Federal Tax ID: 38-6038121.

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