Majeski remains in contact with many of her students, and has even received stellar reviews from several of their employers.
“Celebrating their successes never gets old for me,” she said.
The privilege of sharing in these kinds of successes isn’t limited to just Quinnipiac students and academic faculty. For the past five years, transition students have accompanied Quinnipiac Public Safety Sgt. Dominick Riley on his daily patrols of the North Haven Campus.
“It has been amazing to see their development and the progress that they make during their time here,” said Riley, who has been recognized by the program for his contribution.
On the surface, experiences like these teach transition students job skills and how to contribute as a member of a team. On a deeper level, they instill a new found sense of confidence and pride where previously there was only embarrassment and shame surrounding their disability.
Raul Erazo, the father of a Bridge to Life student, saw the change in his son immediately.
Erazo’s son worked with the Quinnipiac facilities team while also working at an area Big Y supermarket. Both experiences taught him how to self-advocate and reach out for help when he needed it, as well as better manage the kinds of everyday situations he struggled with in the past – including bullying.
“For a long time, he was very frustrated by his limitations,” Erazo said. “Now he is thriving, making friends and discovering new abilities.”
And that’s the point.
The benefits to the Cheshire students are profound. They learn to accept their disabilities and to use the tools and skills to work through various situations to not impede them from being successful and reach their full potential – whether through their academics, jobs, or building and maintaining their relationships.
Many of these students have the academic aptitude, but not the social and organizational skills. For most of us, making a cup of coffee comes naturally, but without adequate support and training, persons on the autism spectrum would struggle to master such a simple skill. They leave this program knowing that they are in charge of their own success. They learn how to be self-advocates and how to speak up or reach out for assistance.
The Cheshire Transition Collaboration Program’s reputation has spread. Going forward, it will expand to faculty and students from the social work program and will include speech and language faculty and students from Southern Connecticut State University.
Speaking at the program’s graduation ceremony in 2017, Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Thompson praised its growth and success.
“This program represents Quinnipiac University’s commitment to community collaboration, as well as to the inclusion of all on our campuses,” he said.