Developmentally disabled focus of new college in US

By April 14, 2008

USA (MNN) — Last week we told you about a 50-year-old organization that focuses on ministry to the developmentally disabled. Shepherds Ministries says these forgotten marginalized people are for the most part unreached with the Gospel. Shepherds is already helping them with residential care, vocational and spiritual training and other ministries. This year, they're starting something new — Shepherds College.

Shepherds Ministries' Bill Amstutz describes Shepherds College. "There are many people with developmental disabilities that are coming out of high school that are having difficulty transitioning from their high school experience to their first job, or from the transition from their family home to independent living."

Shepherds College will serve as a bridge to help them reach their full potential.

According to Amstutz, Shepherds College will include life skills training in several parts: "Daily living skills, functional academic skills, mobility skills, and social and emotional skills. The second will be two specialty majors — culinary arts and horticulture."

Spiritual formation is another area. "This is where Shepherds is separated from another program in the United States. We want to see these students that are moving towards appropriate independence that they're best prepared by having a strong spiritual foundation."

Shepherds College is the only program of its kind and will begin in the Fall with 12 students.

Amstutz believes the program will help with the transition "not only to be productive in society, but active in the local church. And then we also believe that not only can they do all of those things, but certainly they can be salt and light in their own community."

If you'd like to find out more about Shepherds College or would like to support the ministry, click here.

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