USA (MNN) — How often does an
entire student body kick off a new semester while cooking? Unless you're a Shepherds
College student, not very often.
The student body of six kicked
off the Spring 2009 semester with a conference retreat in the Wisconsin Dells. Shepherds' Angela Houk says all of their
student body has developmental disabilities, which is what makes what happened
at the conference significant.
The group rented a townhouse for
the conference, and the students were responsible for organizing, prepping and
cleaning up after the meals.
Although meal prep may not seem like a
learning session, "these are
all skills that they need–" says Houk, "communicating with each other, with co-workers, with
roommates, and working together as a team. These are job
skills. Really, everything that we do is building for them to be successful
Students are discovering the God that has designed them and investigate
the specific purpose He has for their lives. One
student named Scott said, "I learned how to get organized and how
to get motivated for God." Brian echoed that, adding, "I learned from
devotions that we need to encourage each other. I also learned that being
organized is a good skill for jobs."
Students also listed one behavior that
they will change as a result of what they learned. Some behaviors
students plan to change this semester: being more positive, building
others up, being a better listener, being more organized with homework, and
staying plugged into God's Word.
As the team
attempts to prepare each Shepherds College student for Appropriate Independence,
the staff is committed to providing a
setting that will encourage spiritual growth.
Houk says, "We're really pouring into the students the understanding of who
God is. The students need to depend on God for strength and success, not only
here at Shepherd's College, but in life. I think as we model for them how to
walk with God, how to pray, and how to study the Bible, that's something they can make their own."
College is a three-year program. Year One is made up primarily of classroom
instruction. Year Two consists of a balanced mix of hands-on training in the
chosen area of study and class work. Year Three is an internship in which the
student is placed with a local employer in their area of study with a small
amount of class work. For more details,