Alumni in Action
Written by Katie & Dagny L.
Katie graduated from high school in Port Angeles, Washington at the end of this school year. She has gotten the most out of school in her classes, where she was recently selected Student-of-the-Month, and in her community service and volunteer work with the Korean Women's Association (KWA). This is an agency that provides support to individuals who need assistance in their homes. At KWA, Katie does adapted office work, and greets and interacts with clients. When this job ends after graduation, Katie will look for new employment and volunteer opportunities, as well as joining Clallam Mosaic, which has classes and events for individuals with special needs.
Another major milestone for Katie this year was turning 21! This event was toasted with champagne at 3 wonderful parties given in her honor.
In addition to using her ECO2 speech generating device to meet many of her communication needs, Katie is having fun utilizing all the features of her iPad, including using the infrared transmitter to control her TV and other household appliances.
This summer, Katie is looking forward to hosting her family and friends at her house on the Olympic Peninsula, enjoying the views from her tree house and deck while soaking in the hot tub. Katie and her extended family love cross country and international travel. They are planning a two-month RV trip next spring to Key West, Florida, stopping at many National Parks via the southern route on the way there and via the northern route on the way back. The next fall, they will all be going on a cruise to Australia.
Written by Dan & Sheri S.
Since graduating from Clearwater High School in Florida, Dan has continued to work diligently with his reading tutor. He loves reading comics most of all and he is also a collector of statues and toys from the comic world.
Dan has become an avid sports fan and particularly loves basketball. His favorite teams are the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors and he followed them into the playoffs and finals. He is enjoying learning about all of the intricate rules of the game and getting to know the players over this past season.
In April, Dan had the opportunity to meet one of his heroes, Stan Lee, the creator of Spiderman. Meeting him was a truly great moment for Dan because of his huge respect for this writer and the comic books he created.
Dan now uses an iPad Mini and his iPhone to speak. He has communication applications in each of these devices and he loves using them. Dan also uses texting and email extensively as well as his Facebook page.
This summer Dan and his mom will volunteer in their neighborhood, working with children to develop their literacy skills using their favorite books and, of course, comic books. Dan hopes to go to Disney World and Universal Studios this year and is looking forward to the release of some much-anticipated video games and movies. There is a comic book club that he plans to join and he is looking forward to meeting kindred spirits there. He will also be doing lots of swimming to stay cool during the Florida summer.
Written by Job & Molly M.
Job graduated from The Bridge School last June and transitioned into a 5th grade class at Blackford Elementary School in San Jose. He loves his new classroom teacher and one-to-one aide and enjoys participating in the general education classroom with his friends. When Job graduated from The Bridge School, he was already extremely proficient at using his Tobii C-Series speech generating device. He uses a switch at his elbow and is able to navigate to all of his pages quickly. He has overcome his shyness and is now enthusiastic about using his communication device to participate and engage with his peers in group activities. He received an award at the science fair this year as well as an award for reading.
Job has made great friends in his 5th grade inclusion class. They start each day with boot camp and Job uses his walker or power wheelchair to circle the track with his classmates. After boot camp, he and a friend have morning jobs. Job's favorite job is making school announcements over the loud speaker. He is proud of his progress using the power wheelchair at school and how well he is using his communication device in the classroom.
Job has gone with his class on many field trips this year. They travelled by light rail in San Jose to see plays downtown at the Children's Musical Theater and they travelled by charter bus to go whale watching at Año Nuevo State Park. Job also participated with his class in the Kiwanis Special Games at De Anza College.
Next year Job will transition into sixth grade at Willow Glen Middle School in San Jose. He visited the school this spring and really liked the program. He was also interested to learn that the students wear uniforms and this will be a new experience for him. Job's one-to-one aide at his current school is able to accompany him to the new school for a smooth transition.
Written by Cristian
My name is Cristian Orbe-Rosas. I am 18 years old. I am a senior at Hercules High School in Hercules. I am a busy guy.
I have many classes this year, like journalism, history, and theater. This year my favorite class is Leadership Class. I help put on events at school like rallies and spirit week. I helped with the class float for homecoming. I led the senior class during the homecoming parade. Our theme was Captain America, so I carried the shield. We also went ice skating during December. It was a good time.
This year I have joined many groups because I like to meet new people. I joined BCTAC: Bridging Communities Through Alternative Communication and we go out and do fun things. I like to teach people about AAC. I also joined MAPS: Mentors, Advocacy, and Peer Services at the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley. I have made new friends and learn about being independent. I want to move out someday. It is my dream to have my own apartment. I am also doing Mobility Matters, where I go out with my trainer and learn to take BART and the bus and how to travel independently.
I dream about spring and baseball season. I play Challenger baseball and my team is the A's. I also like to go to baseball games. My favorite team is the San Francisco Giants and I love to cheer for them. I like to meet the players and get their autographs.
I am proud that I played drums in the school band. I played an adapted electronic drum and I could choose the sound. My sheet music was modified so I played the snare drum part. I would get very nervous before a performance, but I did a fantastic job!
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 & Jenn C.
Jake is a go-getter and is extremely active in his community. He has a full schedule every day and downtime is definitely not in his vocabulary. A major priority for Jake continues to be building leadership skills.
This year, he was asked to continue his work with Youth Organizing! Disabled and Proud (YO!), a program for leadership opportunities, social networks and resources. He gets a monthly stipend to be an advocate and is often working with others in the organization to develop and present to groups and at conferences on topics such as disability culture, advocacy and social action. The current topic on the agenda is a campaign for anti-bullying.
His work with YO! has inspired Jake to create a group for youth with disabilities in his local San Jose community. He wants to focus on work that is closer to home and feels there is a need he can fill in his own community.
Jake lives on his own with the help of a supported living roommate. He loves where he lives, as it is close to public transportation options and there are shops and a grocery store within walking distance. Staying fit is a priority for Jake and he feels fortunate that his housing complex has a pool and gym. Other physical fitness activities that Jake participates in are track and field at his community college. This is a very exciting part of his day as he can be completely independent in 'running' the track using his power wheelchair.
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.