JSA was a recent recipient of the The Autism Services Grant Council Autism License Plate grant! We will be receiving funding that will support our on campus enterprises for the aging student population, transitioning from classroom academics to vocational training.
There’s a generation of students enrolled at Jacksonville School for Autism (JSA) who are quickly aging out of the more traditional school-based services of academics and classroom curriculums, finding themselves transitioning into new life circumstances, as young adults who suddenly have no official financial support and/or professional services that they’re able to fully rely on. By the age of 22 most assistance-based programs and scholarships are no longer available, creating an alarming issue for these newfound young adults, who are now dependent on their immediate families and caretakers for getting the supports and services they desperately require.
Away from the halls of JSA and within the autism community at large there is an entire generation of young adults without programs able to facilitate the services, supports and/or placement they need as they begin aging out of more traditional school-based services. This creates a tremendous demand for systems and programs that can utilize the unique abilities that individuals with autism possess, while establishing vocational enterprises that can create systems which provide structure, purpose & much needed resource for them to thrive.
At JSA we are attempting to do just that, by growing our program along with the growth of our students and their unique needs, constantly adapting and developing our services to fit their individual requirements. One way we’re facilitating this growth is through ‘On Campus Enterprises’, one of such is as an agro-business model we are developing that will allow their current gardening therapy sessions to blend seamlessly into a vocational model which will give them more access and control over their futures. The older students will focus their gardening sessions on product development and tailor the styles of gardening and growing that’s being facilitated to fulfill the products that are being created. This on campus enterprise within the gardening program will not only consist of weekly therapy sessions, but monthly markets, workshops, trainings, community engagement & so much more. It will focus on the vocational development behind production and bringing products to market, including but not limited to, growing & harvesting, cleaning, preparation and production, packaging, labelling, order fulfillment, deliveries and shipping, stocking & preservation, etc.
The funds from this grant would not only go directly into the infrastructure of the garden including additional raised beds, materials for hydroponics & improvements to existing growing spaces all needed to increase production and create inventory, but also the equipment, supplies & materials needed for processing what’s grown, creating our products and then bringing those products to market.
There are tremendous benefits for establishing enterprises on campus. Most of which is that it’s an extremely safe environment with profound access to numerous professionals, teachers and therapists alike, who are all very familiar with each student and their unique circumstances. To establish the enterprises on campus, creates a seamless transition with continuity & consistency, both of which are necessities for successful student programming. It also maintains a social atmosphere for engagement with their peers on campus, which data shows is a powerful reinforcer for productivity. So with the help of the Autism Services Grant Council License Plate grant, we can continue our mission of establishing systems that can help facilitate the growth of our students, specifically as they age from academic based school services into more vocational style models with onsite enterprises.
The Autism Grants Council awarded over $141,000 in grant funding to 19 nonprofits throughout Florida. Each grant recipient provides critical services for people with autism and related disabilities. Grant awards are made possible through the revenue generated by the Florida “Support Autism Programs” specialty license plate sales. These license plate sales continue to directly empower and support the autism and related disability community. If you would like to purchase your license plate, please visit www.autismlicenseplate.com