Ethel’s Tree of Life was awarded a 2011 Gannett Foundation Grant | Families

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Ethel’s Tree of Life was awarded a 2011 Gannett Foundation Grant
Families, People, Schools
Ethel’s Tree of Life was awarded a 2011 Gannett Foundation Grant

“Ethel's Tree of Life is dedicated to teaching its students to expand their horizons, try new things, and empower themselves with new found confidence”  Ethel’s Tree of Life (ETL) has a mission, to provide transition training in life as well as work skills for youths and young adults who live with disabilities and/or special needs.  Established in 2003 ETL offers training with social and behavioral skills, goal setting and planning, team building and so much more.  Since its inception ETL has served over 420 students and their families.  At ETL students say they don't feel different; they get to try new things, build confidence, be with peers, and, just be kids while learning what works in social and work situations, what doesn't work, and, the 'whys' for both.  Part of the curriculum is called Transition Training where students around the age of 14 beginning learning skills that will help them transition, or grow from children to adulthood.  The Branching-Out Program, which serves over a dozen towns and cities within Southern York County, is a mentor and recreation based set of opportunities and activities which help assemble the necessary skills needed to succeed in the student’s adult life.  The students also go on field trips, referred to as Life Skills Trips to places such as New York City, Philadelphia, and Old Quebec.  These trips were designed to help students use the skills that they have been building, like teamwork, self care, and problem solving.  When students go out on their Urban Hikes, day trips that are taken to nearby cities, the students have a chance to learn and grow from the cultural and historical opportunities around them.  During these outings the students also have the opportunity to learn basic skills that are required with functioning in society; such as using public transportation or taxis, ordering food, and money management by creating a cost analysis and a budget.  Of the things they do, this quote from a parent says it best:  “Ethel’s Tree of Life has provided an amazing amount of opportunities for our son. It has allowed him to grow and learn in a way that makes sense to him.  [Our son] has grown so much through his involvement with ETL, having made huge gains in independence, problem solving, and working co-operatively within a group.  He has become an active member of the community and takes pride in his accomplishments.”  If you would like to learn more about Ethel’s Tree of Life, please contact Linda Higgins at (207)704-0265; or visit their website at http://www.ethelstree.org

Families, People, Schools

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