John and Jacqueline E. Swartz
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“For the past 30 years, JCHAI has successfully taught adults with developmental disabilities, including autism to become a dynamic part of their community,” said Judith Creed, Board Chair and Founding Family Member of JCHAI. “The new building will allow us to expand our offerings so our Transitions participants, many of whom are still in high school, will receive the highest quality services so that they are able to reach their full potential.”
The new John and Jacqueline E. Swartz Education Center provides a hub for the community of people with disabilities so they can meet, socialize and have fun and entertaining classes to teach them the skills they need to live and work in the community. JCHAI’s Transitions program targets young adults with developmental disabilities or autism while they are in high school and before they age out of school programming. This early learning approach to independent living outside of the school system is unique to JCHAI. In this center, JCHAI members will receive educational, social and vocational training, which will open the door to the notion that independent living is within reach, while allowing parents to envision a more fruitful life for their children.
The new Education Center, designed by Cecil Baker and Associates with open socializing spaces and large windows to take advantage of the sylvan setting on which it is located, includes high-tech classrooms with smartboards, two teaching kitchens, and a dining area where participants can learn social skills like setting a table and hosting a dinner party. One of the highlights of the building is a training coffee shop with an outdoor patio that will be operated in partnership with La Colombe and where students will learn the skills needed to work in a retail environment.
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