Next Steps students lead 2-day transition experience for HS students

Next Steps at Vanderbilt students, Project Search participants, and active members of the Youth ACT team recently led a two-day transition experience on Vanderbilt’s campus for more than 60 area high school youth with disabilities. The L.A.S.T. (Life After School Tips) Transition Workshop featured concurrent sessions on employment, going to college, and learning how to be organized and responsible in social, work, and school settings.

The workshop kicked off with a lively “talk show” skit, hosted by Next Steps graduate Daniel Bautista. Bautista expertly welcomed a panel of Next Steps graduates to the stage and asked hard-hitting questions about their desire to go to college, independence, setting goals, and becoming leaders. Visiting youth were then treated to an invigorating, hip hop performance from the CBTP All Stars before heading into their breakout sessions.

In the session on employment, visiting students learned about exploring and connecting with different career opportunities, heard from students about on and off-campus internship experiences, and discussed the meaningfulness and benefits of volunteering and serving communities.

The session on postsecondary education was a glimpse into what life is like at college. The youth learned about taking classes and making friends. One visiting student raised her hand and asked, “How do you even know how to get to class,” which opened up a rich discussion about independence and about knowing when and how to ask for help.

The final session was focused on responsibility. Next Steps students shared personal experiences and tips that they found to be helpful in becoming more responsible and independent both during and after college.

“It was important for our students to be on campus and to hear from others about their experiences of college life,” said Jill Gregory, a participating special education teacher. “It was great for them to see how confident the Next Steps students are when speaking in front of guests. Being on campus helped my students see how responsible they will need to be if they attend a postsecondary education program.”

In addition to the workshop for students, their parents also were invited to campus. A group met with Next Steps at Vanderbilt staff and the parents of graduates to learn more about the program and the effects it has had on the lives of its students. Parents shared their dreams and concerns for their sons and daughters and were given an opportunity to network and learn from other parents.

The two-day workshop would not have been possible without support from the Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT) and The Arc Tennessee.

For more information on Next Steps at Vanderbilt, YouthACT, or the L.A.S.T. Workshop, contact Tammy Day at or 615-343-0822.

Last Updated: 5/13/2015 3:09:22 PM

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