By: Kristin Helf, Contributing Writer
Although it’s been here since the mid-90s, Towson’s Outreach program is still, according to Outreach Director Sandra Fisher, a “deep, dark secret.”
Every day, Baltimore County high school graduates with moderate to severe disabilities in come to Outreach, hidden near Newell and Hillel. Here, they work on their social skills, learn to transition from a school to a community environment, attend campus events and benefit from work study at various places around campus, from the dining halls to the Union store.
Sara Goldman, a senior and intern at TU Outreach, says that their goal is to help the students find ways to continuously learn and develop responsibilities.
“That’s why they have these jobs,” Goldman said. “To have them branch out and meet new people, and see new places and realize that just because they have a disability doesn’t mean they’re worthless. They are worth it.”
Before the Outreach program was introduced to Baltimore County, most students with disabilities were required to remain in high school until they turned 21.
“That’s a long time,” Fisher said. “It puts a 21-year-old in the same environment as a 14-year-old. That’s a huge difference.”
Outreach prides itself on its Life Skills program, where instead of teaching their students geometry or parts of speech, educators and interns teach practical skills that can be applied to the real world.