Alumni in Action
Written by Joe and Marlene Simas, parents
Joey is currently attending Redwood Heights Elementary where he is part of the TACLE program. Joey has made a wide circle of friends at Redwood Heights! He enjoys circle time with his teachers and friends each morning where they share their news about the previous day’s activities.
Joey also enjoys music therapists who come to Redwood Heights to play music with him. Joey is mainstreamed into a first grade class each day and enjoys it. He also enjoys the garden they have at Redwood Heights. Recently, Joey started taking the school bus to and from school. He absolutely loves it! Joey participated in his first school walk-a-thon last year and it was sooooo fun.
Family news - Joey's auntie is getting married in Hawaii soon. So we have an upcoming trip planned and Joey is super excited! Joey says he likes the plane trip itself more than actually going to Hawaii.
Summer fun - Joey started music therapy with Ian Wilkerson over the summer. Joey was so surprised to find out that Ian is Ms. Sasha's brother. Ms. Sasha even surprised Joey by attending one of those sessions over the summer. He was so happy to see her! Joey also went with his family to go cherry picking over the summer...it's one of his favorite family outings each year!
Things that Joey likes to do outside of school - Joey loves music! Every morning Joey wants to watch ukelele cover songs on Youtube. He's really grown to love the ukelele ever since Eddie Vedder performed with it at the Bridge School Concert. Some of Joey's favorite TV shows are Caillou and Doc McStuffins!
Looking for the latest and greatest books? Need a recommendation for something to read while on public transit? If so, contact Jackie, a 2002 graduate of The Bridge School and now entrepreneur of Books on Wheels (B.O.W). Jackie and her parents realized there was a need in their community to re-establish a book delivery service to senior citizens in assisted living centers. This was the impetus for creating Books on Wheels.
Jackie is starting off small in order to develop her business strategy. Once a week, she brings B.O.W. to two local retirement homes. Customers are able to browse through a catalogue of books or scan the shelves for something that captures their interest. Jackie signs out the books and stamps the due date. She also checks in with her customers to see if they have any special requests or if they would like recommendations in a particular genre. Her customers are very enthusiastic about this service and she will be expanding to other groups in the near future.
Jackie’s team is working together to find ways to increase her interactions with customers and participation in her business. In the next few months, Jackie will be visiting the Center for Accessible Technology (CforAT), which has an iPad lending library at the Ed Robert’s campus in Berkeley. While at CforAT, Jackie and her team will meet with a technology specialist to discuss use of the iPad and its potential to meet her business needs.
Peter was a student in the very first Bridge School classroom in 1987 and transitioned to Balboa High School in 1994. Now, he’s 34 and a client of The Arc of San Francisco. The Arc contacted The Bridge School Transition team to work with one of Peter’s new support staff on identifying more opportunities for communication and participation in the community. Out of team discussions, Transition developed a Bay Area Flipbook for Peter to choose locations to explore. Now, he’s a man about town visiting his friends, hanging out at coffee shops, and checking out new eats. In September, he attended the Bridging Communities Through Alternative Communication (BCTAC) retreat in the Cupertino Hills at Via West and created an amazing piece of art to sell at the 25th Anniversary Bridge School Benefit Concert. He also is an active member of the San Francisco State University Conversation Club where he is able to catch up and hang out with all of his close buddies.
Recently, Peter and his Arc team decided they wanted to share Peter’s communication tools and strategies with other staff members who work with him. With Peter, Frances (one of Peter’s support staff) and Stacy’s (Peter’s case manager) input, we identified specific tools and strategies Peter could share at the next Arc staff meeting. Stay tuned for a video clip of Peter presenting at his meeting!
Written by Jake and Donna A.
This June, Jake graduated from Mountain View High. In July, Jake attended a five-day Youth Leadership Forum in Sacramento, which is designed to promote leadership and advocacy for youth with disabilities. Jake said, “It changed my life.”
Currently, Jake is attending a post-senior program through the Mountain View High/Los Altos School District. The program includes working out at the YMCA, taking an art class, attending a Sex Education class for people with disabilities, and visiting work sites. After Jake gets settled in, the program teacher will help him find a part-time job or volunteer opportunity, maybe acting as a greeter at a hardware store. In the meantime, he is doing some work at Chili’s Restaurant with his aide.
Jake has become fluent in Spanish. He loves to listen to music on the radio. He loves going to dances, BCTAC group events, visiting amusement parks watching television (Giants baseball, Extreme Home Makeover, and the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad.) Every year, a couple months ahead of time, he gets really excited about the Bridge School concert and can talk about little else.
Jake’s goals are to find ways to be more active in the community so that he can return to the Youth Leadership Forum one day as a staff member, get more friends who are willing to visit him at his house, and always to find ways to “hang out with the ladies.”
What I have been doing since I left the Bridge School.
By Drew Sato
I left the Bridge School in December of 2010. Since then I have moved to Woodinville, WA and I have been very busy. Here are a few things that I have been up to.
On January 4th, 2011 I started at Cottage Lake elementary. I was in a general ed 3rd/4th grade split class. There were 18 boys and 10 girls in my class. The boys were nice, but rowdy as boys will be. I really liked all of the girls. I loved my teacher Ms. Stief. One of my favorite parts of school was P.E. I got to get into my walker and my teacher Mr. Stookey is cool. Next year I will be in 5th grade.
In Washington I joined a baseball team called the Blue jays. Again mostly boys but I had fun. One time I fell out of my chair while running around the bases! Our coaches were wonderful!
The best thing that happened since I left Bridge is that I got my therapy dog Feather! She’s cute, kind, cuddly, smart, mellow, and a chow hound. She’s not a full service dog because she’s afraid of some things. I love her.
My dad and I have been having a lot of fun. I got a custom chair for running and my dad and I ran a 5k in it. I had fun, but my dad looked like he was being tortured. He said it was fun though. This summer we have been spending as much time as we can in the water. My dad and I love the water. Mom not so much. We went to Lake Chelan and my dad and I went swimming all day every day.
Since I left, I miss the Bridge School a lot, but I am having fun in Washington and I am coming down for the concert.
Need a little pick-me-up? Worried about sleepin’ on the job? If so, maybe you need to meet Clay, a young man with a head for the coffee delivery business. Clay began his coffee delivery business in 2010. He developed the plan to start his coffee business, beginning with the selection of the name, “Clay’s Coffee.” He then worked on designing a menu and order forms as well as advertising and promotional materials.
“I like to do my Peet’s Coffee Delivery business because I love coffee. I am perfect for this job! The staff at Peet’s are really nice and helpful, in particular Barbara, a nice lady who makes my coffee…I know how to flirt. Of course, one of the things I like about my business is to order and deliver the coffee. But, I have to admit that the best thing about my business is that I always get myself a cup.” - Clay
“I think Clay has been doing a great job with his coffee delivery so far. He is very independent and doesn't need my assistance in a lot of things. For example, when we arrive to Peet’s to pick up the coffee orders for Clay’s customers, he uses his Vanguard communication device to place the orders, all I do is to physically hand over the order forms to the cashier. I think this is great.“
“The fact that Clay loves coffee makes the delivery business more exciting. He is always very enthusiastic about his business because coffee is something that he likes. He is always happy when arriving at Peet’s and this has made a great impression on the staff at Peet’s - Clay even gets free coffee once in a while. This is very encouraging to keep his business going." - Viktoria
Clay’s attendant, Viktoria is a great asset to Clay’s business. Together, Clay and Viktoria fine tuned his coffee delivery system. They met with the director at Clay’s program to coordinate delivery days and the supports necessary for Clay to meet the needs of his clientele. Clay selected informal conversational language and with Viktoria’s assistance programmed it into his device so that he was ready to go when getting and placing orders (“e.g., What’s up? Today’s coffee delivery day! Want anything?”).
Clay now has a clientele that looks forward to his delivery days.
"Clay's coffee service is always delivered with a smile". - Sona D.
"You can always depend on Clay to deliver your coffee right away" - Francine B.
"Without Clay's coffee service my boss might catch me sleeping on the job" - Bryce F.
For the future, Clay and his team are developing a system so that Clay can track orders and inventory to better meet his customer’s needs.
A visit from a grad is always welcome at The Bridge School! And guess who decided to join the gang for ice skating.
Hannah joined the Bridge kids at the Winter Lodge skating rink for the annual field trip. Fake snow, lots of spins on the ice and an added bonus – Hannah and her mom brought along potato soup and homemade bread for everyone to enjoy!
Hannah graduated from The Bridge in 2008 and since then she has been enjoying time in her neighborhood school. She is in the 6th grade and attends a variety of classes. She just finished a science project on the effects of wind on different natural substances. She recently took center stage at the band concert introducing each piece. She makes friends easily and has a constant choice of partners for her work. Next year, Hannah plans to be on the school newspaper staff and be a photographer for the yearbook!
Last month, Hannah hit the ski slopes in Bear Valley and skied with her family for two days! It’s reported by mom that "Dad lost her only once in a snowdrift up to her neck."
03/29/12 - Check out what Ben has to say about his organic egg business in the San Francisco Chronicle article by Carolyn Jung!
10/17/10 - Ben is interviewed about his organic egg business by Lily Bixler in the Half Moon Bay Review!
Keith is loving theatre class at Foothill College. See him in action!
If I was to describe my actions today, it can be summed up in four words: art, movies, music and sports. After recently graduating from Gunn High School, I have started to attend their post senior program. As a part of the program, I am attending some classes at Foothill College. I get to take the classes I love most; art and PE. Since one of my favorite activities is drawing, I have enrolled in water color and charcoal drawing.
Movies are another part of my days. In addition to seeing movies, I had the opportunity to be a volunteer at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose. This turned out to be a great time and I met a lot of people. My main job was to count people entering the shows. “Keith was very good at this job. We hope to see him back again next year”, said the volunteer coordinator. I am anxiously waiting for the festival next year. I hope to get a job working at a movie theater.
Music is a big part of my life. I go to concerts and listen to music on my iPod. My favorite stars are Billy Idol and Sheryl Crow. I go to their concerts when they are in town. My two most favorite shows on TV are American Idol and Glee. If I could sing I would try out for American Idol.
When I am not in school I like to participate in, and watch sports. Power wheelchair soccer is a big part of my life. I am on the San José Rockets power soccer team. We play teams from different parts of the state. Next year we hope to participate in a national tournament. I also like to watch all types of sporting events. I like football, hockey and NASCAR. I like to attend the San Jose Sharks and the San Jose Spartans football games.
As you can gather, I try to stay very busy.
Written by Max and his Mom, Amy
Max is a proud alumnus from The Bridge School. He loves to spend time with friends and family. He has recently graduated from Mills High School in Millbrae, CA. During the weekday, he hangs out at The Janet Pomeroy Center in San Francisco. This allows him to continue his hobbies (such as swimming, yoga, computer, drama and gardening). He enjoys running around San Francisco and hanging out in the neighborhood. On the weekend, he enjoys bowling, watching rock concerts, and keeping up with all sports. He plays baseball for a SFLL Challenger team. He attends as many concerts per year as possible. He has just lately seen Coldplay, and is looking forward to seeing the Indigo Girls and Sheryl Crow soon. The Bridge School Concert is always his favorite.