The Transition Challenge
For most young people, graduation from high school is a step toward the future. It is an exciting time of finding independence, attending college, traveling or starting a career. But what happens to the young person with a disability upon leaving high school? The transition to adulthood is exceedingly complex. For most, they no longer see friends, activities and social interactions are decreased, and the opportunity to learn and experience new things is severely limited. It is a lonely, often frustrating time for individuals and the families who care for them as they seek a productive and fulfilling life. For some young people, group homes are a step toward independence. They provide room and board, but offer very limited social, vocational, and recreational programs. For others, living at home may be the only option, leaving most families with few opportunities to provide constructive, meaningful experiences and little time for respite.
The Tavon Center Mission
In 2003, Tavon Center was created by a group of concerned parents, professionals, and friends who recognized the need for creative, community-based, post-high school programs where young people with disabilities can continue to learn, grow, have friends, and work toward independence. The mission of Tavon Center is to provide meaningful daily experiences for young adults with disabilities in a caring, productive environment. Through working in the gardens, caring for animals, practicing daily living activities, and building interpersonal skills, participants gain capability and confidence. Bonding with peers and staff creates a circle of friends, an invaluable support system for our participants. Daily stimulation and personal connections foster a healthy lifestyle that helps sustain physical and mental health.
During the summer, clients at Tavon Center grow produce in the accessible gardens and sell it at their very own market at Gilman Village on Thursdays from 11-4pm. We also volunteer at our local hospital, food bank and library. These productive activities benefit the community and bring pride to our clients.
With a 2:1 client to staff ratio, Tavon Center is able to provide individualized programs in order to maximize each participant’s abilities. Currently Tavon Center has 65 clients. Our long-term vision is to expand our program in order to accommodate our growing waitlist.
Our five-year plan includes scaling the program to include both employment and vocational training programs. We will build a large scale greenhouse that will serve as an employment center for clients who can function independently and as a vocational training center for clients who are working towards employment.