PARKERSBURG - A free informational services fair will be offered Oct. 18 to assist individuals with special needs and their families seeking options and opportunities after high school.
The fair is being offered at no charge to students with special needs and their families from Wood, Wirt, Ritchie, and Pleasants counties in West Virginia and Washington County in Ohio. Hours will be 4-7 p.m. at the West Virginia University at Parkersburg campus multi-purpose room, 300 Campus Drive. The fair is aimed at special needs students 16-21 years old. More than 500 students have been invited to attend. This is the third year for the High School and Beyond Planning for the Future Transition Services Fair.
More than 50 vendors are expected to set up displays and exhibits and there will also be classes offered.
Photo by Pamela Brust
The Transition Committee of the Mid-Ohio Valley discussed plans for the Oct. 18 High School & Beyond Transition Services Fair for high school students with special needs. Committee members are Anna Cumberledge, Youth Advantage program manager; Sara Rose, employment specialist with the Jackson County Developmental Center; Marsha Spiker, rehabilitation counselor, West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation; Tammi Collins, director of operations with the West Virginia Family Support & Rehabilitation Services; Savannah McCutcheon, case manager, SW Resources; April Pennell, director of development and rehabilitation at SW, and Karen Wolfe, Community Integration Work Program teacher at Parkersburg High School.
"Our goal is to get information and resources to students that have disabilities to help them transition, anything from information on employment to support services like life skills, training," said Marsha Spiker, rehabilitation counselor with the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation.
April Pennell, director of development and rehabilitation at SW Resources said there will be variety of vendors on hand to provide information and answer questions.
"We will have multiple agencies that will be at the fair, everything from support services, employment, advocacy, colleges, as well as agencies that support the transition committee," Pennell said.
There will also be some classes available where students and their families can get additional information.
"The classes will be about 20 minutes, there are about four agencies scheduled including disabilities services, college settings. All kinds of accommodations are available the students might not know about, this provides information, rehabilitation services will have a session on our services as well. There are many students who don't know about our services although we do have counselors in the high schools available, some don't get referred. There will also be job services on hand to provide information. There will information on Title 19 waiver services and that process," Spiker said.
The fair is designed to offer options, provide information, answer questions, raise awareness on what is available.
Tammi Collins, director of operations with the West Virginia Family Support & Rehabilitation Services, said this is the first year that agency has participated in the fair.
Anna Cumberledge, Youth Advantage program manager, said her agency has been participating since the fair's inception three years ago.
"This year we will have youth volunteers through Workforce who will come out and see the vendors and learn and also give back to the community," Cumberledge said.
Some of the participating agencies include Adult Basic Education; The Arc of the Mid-Ohio Valley; Consumer Credit Counseling; Jackson County Developmental Center; REM Community Options; SW Resources; Title XIX/Medicaid Waiver Providers; Washington County Career Center Adult Education; Washington State Community College; Workforce West Virginia-Youth Advantage and Job Service; Wood County Schools; West Virginia Advocates; West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services; West Virginia Parent Training; West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities; West Virginia University at Parkersburg; Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department; Social Security Administration; West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services, and more.