This program is the heart of the Middle and High School programs at KAP. All other goals revolve around this central theme. School-to-work transition provides the teen with an opportunity to develop independence and productivity. The job coaching assistance ranges from nominal to full assistance. The transition program operates year round, with the peak activity time during the summer months. The KAP staff has forged cooperative links with the business and the social services community in Bowling Green/Warren County. The transition program integrates communication, literacy, math and daily living skills which are taught in the work setting. A typical summer placement would be: one hour of functional academic teaching, job placement for two hours, followed by an additional hour of functional academic training. The teens earn a salary and learn how to manage their money as well. The Middle School participants are involved in volunteer positions so they can develop their work skills as well.
The KAP staff works closely with the public/private schools and transition counselors to write and implement an appropriate Individualized Education Plan (IEP) designed with a transition focus. Educational support is addressed through tutoring in an after school setting at the KAP facility. The tutoring reinforces the academic skills, which are targeted in the school and sometimes extends to the work setting. The broad educational areas are: literacy, math, communication, technology and daily living activities.
Within KAP, the high school group has a “Teen Council”. The purpose of the Teen Council is to provide high school students an opportunity to learn and practice leadership and group participation skills with peers. Since KAP is housed in a university setting, participants are able to use the Downing University Center, which has bowling, billiards and a game room. The teens also decide to participate in other community recreation activities such as basketball games, putt-putt golf, the Capitol Arts programs and pool parties. A Teen Council for middle school participants has been formed with a similar charter as the high school council.
The KAP participants have access to the Preston Center’s Health & Fitness Facility. At the Center, teens and staff participate in various fitness activities that improve their health and have a positive impact on their self-concept. In addition to the indoor facilities, KAP offers an outdoor recreation program, including canoe adventures, fishing and other outdoor activities. Teens participate according to their interest. It has been found that once there is group bonding, peers encourage reluctant teens as they try the new activity. This also has an impact on social skill development.
The Teen Council and staff create, print and sell Christmas cards. This process involves creativity, work, and a sense of accomplishment. Two card designs have been accepted for the Kentucky Visual Arts traveling exhibit. With the proceeds from the card sales, the Teen Council ‘adopts’ families from the participant’s respective high schools for Christmas sponsorship. KAP participants purchase Christmas presents, wraps them and takes them to the Family Resource Center for delivery to the families, an opportunity to “give back” to the community.
KAP participants also take part in various community involvement activities throughout the year.