“Bridges to Skidmore” graduation and ceremony

‘Bridges to Skidmore’ College graduation

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On Monday, April 29th, the ‘Bridges to Skidmore’ Program held their third graduation and certificate ceremony in Skidmore’s Murray-Aikins Dining Hall!  We had one graduate, Amanda W., who unfortunately was unable to attend, but received an advance diploma after spending 4 semesters in the program.  The other students will continue in the fall.

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‘Bridges to Skidmore’ College initiative

Michael B., who is employed at Alpha Community Opportunities, our blended vocational and volunteer program, repetitively expressed his regret of not attending college to Jeffrey Moore, our Information Systems Coordinator.  When Jeffrey relayed this to his wife Crystal Dea Moore, Skidmore Associate Professor in the Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work Department, an impetus for a new endeavor began.   Professor Moore formulated the idea of bringing people to Skidmore in conjunction with her course on social work practice with individuals and families.  She felt it would help students develop skills in communicating with diverse populations, raise disability awareness on campus, broaden the college’s connections to the local community and enhance Skidmore’s social and environmental responsibilities.

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As Saratoga Bridges’ consumers began to truly enjoy the idea of learning, Professor Moore realized if the college shared its’ resources, Michael and his peers could engage in a real modified college experience she entitled, ‘Bridges to Skidmore’ College.  She elicited help from a Skidmore student to recruit students to make a commitment of attending lectures with individuals from Saratoga Bridges.  The intent is to work together to overcome obstacles while providing socialization experiences.  Participants and Skidmore students participate in 30-minute presentations on a variety of subjects and topics presented by Skidmore faculty.

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‘Bridges to Skidmore’ College has opened doors to a higher-level thinking and stretched cognitive capacities in a setting historically unavailable to people with developmental disabilities.  It mirrors Saratoga Bridges philosophy of supporting individuals reach their greatest possible potential by striving to attain personal goals, promote independence, increase skills and enhance self-confidence.  Additionally, ‘Bridges to Skidmore’ College helps to fulfill Skidmore’s mission related to civic engagement and diversity while addressing many of Saratoga Bridges’ strategic plan goals of providing innovative learning opportunities for the people they serve.  Moreover, many friendships have been formed and other collaborative initiatives have been developed.