Designs by MOSAIC impact the community
- Written by By Kiersten Kindred
For the past three years, the MOSAIC program, at the Cambridge School, has been helping students with disabilities gain the skills needed to bridge the gap to help them prepare for their life after high school. The MOSAIC program serves students in Humble ISD who are 18 – 22 years of age. The program focuses on teaching students the skills they need including: life-long learning skills, daily living skills/independent skills, employability, and recreation and leisure skills. Students who participate in the program have the opportunity to learn them in natural settings such as in the community and a mock apartment provided at the school. In the apartment, students are able to practice learning things such as laundry skills, cleaning, budgeting and even planning and cooking. Skills that are developed through this type of instruction ensure a focus on students living a social and active life within his/her community. One focus is to teach the students skills they will need to plan and participate in recreational activities with their friends. “This is a big part of the students’ program, they look forward to going out with their friends,” said Geralyn Sullivan, teacher and production specialist at the Cambridge School. “It also helps them use their planner/calendar.” The life-long learning part of the program takes place at Lone Star College-Kingwood as well as in the community. Humble ISD teachers facilitate and shadow the students at the college in their classes for college credit or for their continuing education classes. “This part of the program allows our students the chance to experience college life much like their peers without disabilities,” said Sullivan. “We have two of our students graduating this year in May with an associates degree,” said Sullivan. The program also teaches the students the skills they need to find and keep a job. The focus on employment is a major aspect of the program as all the students really want the skills they need to have jobs and support themselves. One aspect of the employability part of the program is the development and maintenance of the Designs by Mosaic website. On the website, students are able to display and sell the products they learn to make in the program. Some products include: glass fusion, crayons, dog treats, handmade soaps, embossing, and handmade notebooks. “In the beginning of the year we show the different products to the students and let them try them all out and we let them pick what ‘company’ they would like to work for,” said Sullivan. “They do every step from going out in the community and purchasing all of the ingredients, making the product, packaging, marketing and selling. They are so proud of the completed product. You can see it in their face and their smile. This year has been amazing for the Designs by Mosaic. So far this year we have had over 200customers to buy different things that the students have made from glass fusion Christmas angel ornaments to peanut butter dog biscuits. During Christmas time is the busiest time of the year; we are nonstop from October until the day we get out for Christmas break,” Sullivan said. The money made by selling the products is used to purchase more supplies to allow the students to continue to learn employable skills as they continue to process of making our products. “Most of the teachers in MOSAIC have their CDL drivers license, which means we can drive a school bus and we take them out into the community to practice independence skills,” said Sullivan. To learn more about MOSAIC or order their products, visit designsbymosaic.com. Photo: Students design and create items for the Designs by Mosaic website.