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LIFE (Learning Independence From Experience)

About LIFE (Learning Independence From Experience)

School based programs are provided through a partnership between Traverse Bay Intermediate School District, Wexford-Missaukee Intermediate School District, Crawford Oscoda Ogemaw Roscommon Intermediate School District, Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District, and Disability Network.


Through participation in DNNM programs, youth learn about essential independent living skills, employment skill, explore post-secondary options, and self-advocacy. Programs vary in length ranging from 2 - 8 weeks.


Programs include:

  • Soft Skills Training: focused on skills needed to gain and maintain employment.

  • Self-Advocacy Training: focused on self-advocacy skills, self-determination, goal setting, and disability awareness.

  • Banking and Budgeting Basics: introduction to managing finances and understanding money management while living independently.

  • Connecting with your community: focused on job readiness, communication and social skills, leadership and personal empowerment, independent living skills, self-awareness, and peer guidance.

  • Training, Educational, Vocational Options (TEVO I): Workshop for students focusing on post-secondary options including vocational and academic programs Training, Educational, Vocational Options (TEVO II) – focused on independent living skills as the student transitions from home to living on their own.

  • Mobility/Transportation Training: program focused on learning how to navigate public transit safely, and independently. Social Intelligence: Focus will be placed on social emotional learning competencies like self-awareness, emotional regulation, common social interactions, relationship skills, and effective communication.

  • SMART Money: Individualized training on skills related to money including budgeting, bank accounts, direct deposit, debit and credit cards, money transaction, etc.

  • Introduction to Employment: This program has an emphasis on work readiness skills and tools that help prepare individuals for successful employment.

  • Job Exploration: This program will allow individuals the opportunity to explore various career/employment options based on individually identified interests and skill sets.


For more information about our youth & school based programs or if you are interested in participating in a program, please contact Katy Fisher at or George Gray at

Community Learning Independence From Experience Program

Disability Network’s Community Learning Independence From Experience program is a four or eight week intensive that works to improve students’ independence in the community and helps prepare them for employment.


The program focuses on learning public transportation, community agencies, safety and navigation within the community, volunteer opportunities simulating employment, budgeting, comparison shopping, exploring housing options and developing daily living skills.


This program has successfully been offered in multiple communities around northern Michigan including Traverse City, Cadillac, Kalkaska, Petoskey, East Jordan, Manistee and Alpena.

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