Going from College to a Career

 Roxanne Carter-Burnell (center) is surrounded by some of the members of the C2C (College to Career) family,

Roxanne Carter-Burnell (center) is surrounded by some of the members of the C2C (College to Career) family,

Independence and education: what could be more important for young adults? HOPE has teamed up with Harbor Regional Center (HRC), Long Beach City College (LBCC), and California MENTOR to make sure that young women and men with developmental disabilities are given the opportunity to have a rewarding college living experience at an affordable price.

“The C2C program is secondary education for individuals that are Regional Center clients, which means they’ve been diagnosed with a developmental disability,” Roxanne Carter-Burnell, director of supported living for C2C, said. “There are only a handful of programs throughout the country that provide the in-school educational support, as well as the residential housing. So, we’re kind of special, or so we’d like to think.”

The program has had great success in teaching these students to be responsible and hard working.  “The team does an amazing job of inspiring these individuals to do their best and put their best foot forward every day,” Carter-Burnell said. “At first they might say, ‘why are we working on taking out the trash? Why can’t I leave this dish out for a second?’ But then they hear the response of ‘wow, it’s really nice to come to your house.’ They love to hear that and it motivates them. So now, one of our challenges is that we have individuals that will knock on your door and ask you to get that dish out of the sink. They’ve become ambassadors of their own house. They advocate for themselves. They love to hear the feedback.”

 A college to career student enjoying the living room in his C2C HOPE home.

A college to career student enjoying the living room in his C2C HOPE home.

C2C is a great program and it’s working beautifully, but it’s important that more young adults are given the opportunity to participate. There's a need to expand housing within the program so that more hopeful college graduates can have an opportunity to be in the C2C program and experience not only the academics but the social and independent living parts as well. .

“We are very lucky. All of the partners involved are very supportive,” Carter-Burnell said. “We have all the tools, but it’s always nice to have more space."

“We’re only into the second year. We’re just getting to the point where people are starting to come out of the program,” Carter-Burnell said. “We have one graduate so far. She started working and living on her own in April (2014). She’s moved into a HOPE apartment, so what does that mean? Affordability. She’s taken skills she’s learned here with her."

All young developmentally disabled adults should be given the opportunities to succeed this way.  “Post-secondary education should be the right of any individual that wants to explore it,” Carter-Burnell said. “Leveling the playing field is a good thing. In the end, it really will be rewarding to our society. Whatever hand you can have in that, reach out, and you’ll see that sometimes you get that hand right back. You’re helping, but they’re helping as well.”

Going off to college and learning to become self-sufficient is an American tradition that has shaped this nation. The C2C program’s mission is to ensure that college-aged people with developmental disabilities are also extended that opportunity.

Proceeds from this year’s tournament will help to provide a source of funds for upcoming HOPE developments within the C2C program.  If you would like to help us to further our mission by providing a donation for the C2C program please click here