LIFE (Learning Independence From Experience)

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Approximately 1000 students in over 41 schools across our region partake in LIFE (Learning Independence From Experience), Community Learning Independence From Experience and School Transition Services.

The 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 Education Service District, Michigan Rehabilitation Services and Disability Network.

Youth learn how to self-advocate, use their strengths, interests, and abilities to find a successful career path, employment skills, conflict resolution, stress management, as well as budgeting and banking.

Juniors and Seniors involved in the class connect with their local banks to open a checking account, balance their checkbook and use their ATM/debit card.  In addition to monthly lessons, participants are invited to attend Student Transition Conferences to learn about self-advocacy and job skills.


Summer Community Learning Independence From Experience Program

Disability Network’s Community Learning Independence From Experience program is a four or eight week summer 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 lower Michigan including Traverse City, Cadillac, Kalkaska, Petoskey, East Jordan and Alpena.