Invitation to SUNY Orange – Bridges Program for Special Needs Children

Just want to let parents know of a new program for high school students being developed in Orange County.  It is open to families throughout the Hudson Valley.  Check it out and contact Mr. Heller if you plan to attend the October 9 meeting.


Subject: Invite to SUNY Orange – Bridges Program for Special Needs Children

> I invite you to a meeting on Thursday October 9 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm to hear about a new program that SUNY Orange is developing called the Bridges Program. The meeting will be held at the Gilman Center, Library, Middletown Campus. The library is directly across from the Shepard Student Center on South Street and below is the link to campus directions/map for the Middletown Campus.
> The Bridges Program is a program being developed by SUNY Orange at both its Newburgh and Middletown campuses to accommodate children with special needs that are either aging out from high school or are ready to graduate from high school, and are not likely due to their disabilities of successfully completing a 2 or 4 year college degree program, even with appropriate supports. The Bridges Program will fill a gap that doesn’t currently exist in the Hudson Valley.
The basis for the Bridges Program is to expose these children to college level courses in areas that they could successfully complete, with appropriate accommodations, but avoid subjects that would be impossible for each child, and expose them to college level academics, socialization and sports, and concentrated training and internships in the work place to bring students to the highest level of independence that each can achieve. The idea is to work together with organizations like Occupations, Inc. and the business community to combine a college level program, work experience and independent living skills to avoid the need to place these kids in group homes or other institutional type programs, because they have no alternative after High School.
We have already had two meetings – the first was a meeting to propose the idea to Dr. Bill Richards, President of SUNY Orange and the second was a presentation by his staff of their vision for the Bridges Program. The SUNY Orange staff is truly excited about this program, as am I, and are working to implement this program as soon as possible, with a planned starting date this year (if possible). The meeting on October 9 is a repeat of the 2nd meeting and is open to anyone that is interested in learning about this program – for their children, for children of friends or relatives, for educators and anyone that works with students with disabilities and for the business community to see how they can work together with us to make this program a success. According to Dr. Richards, some fundraising will be necessary – he anticipates that three years of start-up funding is needed and will thereafter be self-supporting, with tuition and some fundraising.
If you are interested in learning more about the SUNY Orange Bridges Program, please attend. If you know anyone that is interested, please pass along this message.
I look forward to seeing you on the 9th – if you plan to attend, please email me so I know how many to tell the College to expect.
Glen L. Heller