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Adult school reaches out to community leaders

Adult school reaches out to community leaders

An instructor at the Community Continuum College helps students with their assignments in the school's journalism class on Wednesday. Jessica (seated, middle) is blind and reads her assignments fro...


POSTED July 24, 2009 10:48 p.m.
Turlockers who drive down Colorado Avenue on a daily basis probably do not even notice the Community Continuum College. The building sits so far back on the property that, despite large letters on the front of the building, it is easy to miss from the street. The physical isolation of the building reflects the relative obscurity of the school in the Turlock community.
“We found out that nobody knew we were here,” said Ron Garner, program director for Community Continuum College, a school for developmentally disabled adults in Stanislaus County.
The school’s board of directors decided to bring the college to the public’s eye and consciousness this week by giving a tour of the facility to Turlock community leaders. The tour was lead by David Tolliver, executive director of the school. He showed community members the classrooms, the dinning room, and the other facilities at the Colorado Avenue school. Moreover, he introduced them to students and showed them the progress these individuals have made.
The hallway of the Community Continuum College is currently full of arts and crafts projects on their way to the Stanislaus County Fair. Students create their projects in elective classes like quilting, oil painting, sewing and woodshop. The quilts, pillows, and other projects show the time and effort that students put into their classes and education.
Over 100 students attend the school Monday through Friday, six hours a day. Students attend four classes a day, and they design their own schedule to suit their needs and interests. In addition to arts and crafts classes, they may also choose from math, reading, personal hygiene, self advocacy, and a number of other classes aimed at developing life skills.
The goal of the program is not to treat the student’s handicapping condition, but rather to focus on maximizing the person’s potential for learning and development, according to Tolliver.
Commie Nascimento, who teaches four classes at the school, said that she feels very close to all of her students.
“You can look your worst, feel your worst, and they think you are absolutely beautiful,” Nascimento said.
When each student enrolls they develop an individualized service plan that outlines their goals. Garner said that each student attends classes that help them achieve the goals in their ISP.  Students are assigned a service coordinator to help them reach the goals outlined in the ISP.  
In addition to attending classes, students at the Community Continuum College are also involved in the Turlock community. A small group of students volunteer at Medic Alert, which is down the street from the school. There is also an outreach program for those students who can live independently.
The community outreach group take outings around the Turlock area that help them learn how to manage money, interact appropriately with the community, and master other skills necessary for independent living.  
At the end of the tour, Tolliver asked community leaders for help on behalf of Community Continuum College. He said that the school, which is a private non-profit organization, is dealing with cuts of up to $50,000 a year. That is equal to two staff positions, and Tolliver said that in a program as small as CCC that money makes a big difference.
“Any further cuts and the students are going to see the impact,” Tolliver said.
Bob Endsley, a local businessman, said that he was not aware of the school until he went on his first tour of the facility this year. He said that it is good to know that the whole community is so involved in helping the school succeed.
“This really is an impressive facility,” Endsley said.
The facility will be hosting a series of fundraisers to cover the lost funding. In October the school will be holding a pancake breakfast, but they are still seeking donated food and supplies for the event.
The Community Continuum College pancake breakfast will be held Oct. 17.  Tickets will go on sale in September for $7 each. Tolliver said that the school is in need of supplies such as pancake mix, sliced ham, eggs, orange juice, napkins and other food and paper goods for the breakfast.
To contact Community Continuum College call 632-2406.
To contact Andrea  , e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.
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