Beginning in May, Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs will launch a first-of-its-kind life skills program for individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities called Possibilities, which will provide them opportunities to build the skills they need to succeed in everyday life in an engaging, hands-on environment.
Applying a lead $1 million grant from the Daniels Fund, the agency will develop the Possibilities Town Square, a 14,000-square-foot space featuring businesses and store fronts commonly found in a downtown setting, including an art studio, apartment, bank, city hall, community center, fitness center, general store, health center and Snoezelen
Program participants will engage in hands-on self-directed learning using the simulated town square as their teaching grounds. As they participate, they will receive the rewards of their accomplishments through a token-based purchasing system that allows them to spend what they earn in the town square’s general store.
VP of Rehabilitation and Community Services Denise Krug told The Gazette that Possibilities’ “learn and practice” approach is key to cultivating confidence and independence in people who have intellectual and physical disabilities.
“We want to make these people as comfortable as they can be out there. This is so much more about the whole person than what we’ve been doing,” she explained.
One hundred individuals are expected to participate in the Possibilities program once it launches in May. The Colorado Springs Goodwill plans to enroll an additional 80 individuals with disabilities before the end of the year.
Possibilities will also serve seniors who experience cognitive and physical challenges such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s. It will also function as a living lab for individuals in the agency’s welfare-to-work program, including CNA students who will train in the mock town’s health center.