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Reach for the Stars at OCU

For many students in Oklahoma with intellectual and developmental disabilities, high school graduation marks the end of their academic opportunities, but not their dreams for a brighter, more fulfilling future. 

The Reach for the Stars Program is dedicated to ensuring students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities have a quality postsecondary program that provides an inclusive experience in academics, career development, independent living, and socialization, while also honoring their dignity and worth, and fostering self-determination. The outcome of this experience will produce young adults who are equipped to be lifelong learners, work to support themselves, live independently and contribute to their communities. Of the 250 programs in the United States, Oklahoma is one of only two states which does not already have such a program. The new program on OCU's campus is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2017 or 2018.

Students in the Reach for the Stars Program will be able to participate in all activities offered by the university, with individualized support for success. These include:
  • Attending traditional classes (with modifications and support);
  • Completing internships;
  • Living in traditional on-campus housing and residence halls; and
  • Peer-mentoring and participation in campus clubs, activities, and organizations
Academics: Students in the Reach for the Stars Program will take two inclusive traditional university courses and two Reach for the Stars Program support courses each semester. Students in the Reach for the Stars Program will be assigned paid tutors to provide support for the traditional classes.  Reach for the Stars Program support courses will be specialized sessions designed to provide essential support for success.

Career Development: Students in the Reach for the Stars Program will take courses and have internships in an area of concentration in order to develop a skillset that will prepare them for real, viable employment after graduation.  Students in the Reach for the Stars Program will be placed in internships based on their interests and strengths beginning the second semester of freshman year. Internships will be paid and would be changed each semester to increase the student's employment skills, develop new areas of interest, and reinforce generalization of skills.

Independent Living: Students in the Reach for the Stars Program will live in traditional on campus housing with a trained RA.  The Reach for the Stars Program staff will provide direct instruction in those key elements of independent living that other students are able to "figure out" on their own. Some of these areas of independent living are: navigating campus and nearby off-campus area, personal safety, time management, interpersonal communication, self-determination and money management.

Socialization: Students in the Reach for the Stars Program will be assigned a Social Mentor to help them become socially integrated into the campus and a Fitness Mentor to encourage healthy lifestyle habits.  These mentors should be volunteers in order that true friendships can be fostered rather than a “paid caretaker” relationship. Students will be encouraged to join clubs and attend campus activities.

The ultimate goal of the Reach for the Stars inclusive college program — the first of its kind in Oklahoma — is to produce young adults who are equipped to be lifelong learners capable of working to support themselves and contributing to their communities. To make this dream a reality, we need your support to raise the $200,000 needed to fund the program initially.

Contributions can be made online or mailed to: Oklahoma City University, Office of Advancement, 2501 N. Blackwelder Ave, Oklahoma City, OK, 73106. Please write "Reach for the Stars" in your check memo or as your designation in the online giving form.


 For additional information about the Reach for the Stars Program, please contact:

Jennifer Robinson
Jennifer.L.Robinson@outlook.com
405-642-7806

Pat McGarrity 
patricia.mcgarrity@yahoo.com
405-990-2265