Sierra Transition Education Program

The High School Senior Breakfast and the awarding of thousands of dollars in scholarships has become a tradition that students, parents and the community look forward to every year. This year was no exception.

Disabled Sports of the Eastern Sierra recognized and awarded five graduating seniors on June 15th at Mammoth High School. As an afterthought as she was leaving the podium, Kathy Copeland gave a shout out to the gracious community members of Mammoth Lakes in attendance, asking for some help.

The Transition Program at Mammoth High School, for students with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 22, needed a home. They needed a place to teach social and life skills.

These are skills many of us take for granted; things such as cleaning, shopping, cooking, laundry, budgeting, and banking. In order to do this, the students needed a place away from the high school where the teaching was functional and real. With the request made, almost overnight Paul and Kathleen Rudder stepped up to the plate with an offer to make one of the units in the Sierra Center Mall the new home for the Sierra Transition Education Program (STEP).

STEP is the “next step” for these students; teaching them functional skills that will insure their success as they go on after high school. Many community businesses have been working with these students for the past year: Good Life, Breakfast Club, Roberto’s, Second Chance Thrift Store, Sundance Health Foods, Mogul, Burgers, Shogun, Mammoth Brewery, Kids Club and Husky Club. The students have worked with these businesses learning job skills with a job coach. Some have gone on to become employed by these same businesses.

With the new venue a reality, we will now be able to move forward and provide a complete curriculum with an emphasis on functional development for our transitioning students. This would not have been possible without the help of this great community of Mammoth Lakes. As budgets continue to shrink, and we all try to do more with less, I am thankful that we live in a town where people continue to care about all their citizens.

Cindie Wormhoudt
Teacher, Mammoth Unified School District