Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc., has awarded $3,500 to Countryside Association for People with Disabilities, Inc., in Palatine, under a program that lets Staples associates direct donations. The Staples associate who directed the grant, Mike Stein, has volunteered with Countryside Association for People with Disabilities.
The Staples Foundation Grant will help to fund the Countryside Association for People with Disabilities' Bridging Transitions program; a school-based employment outcome service that assists high school age students with disabilities (14-22) identify, prepare for and achieve post-secondary vocational and life goals.
Research indicates that transition services and proactive planning for high school students with disabilities is crucial to their level of independence and employment after high school. Bridging Transitions engages the student, family and school in designing a comprehensive federally mandated person-centered transition plan leading, in most cases, to employment upon graduation. Access to job readiness assessments, training and employment opportunities are essential to overcoming the obstacles to gaining financial independence and self-sufficiency for anyone with developmental disabilities -- especially high school students. Countryside Association for People with Disabilities partners with high school personnel in North/Northeastern Cook County and all of Lake County to ensure individuals are prepared for next steps upon graduation.
The goal of the program is to avoid gaps resulting in a graduating student being at home in isolation and potentially losing the progress they had made during their high school years. In addition, extensive outreach to families with a son or daughter with disabilities is conducted to ensure they are educated about the next steps they need to take to ensure they understand what benefits are available to their son or daughter once funding stops upon graduation. Transition Outreach staff help the families to be proactive in this area of need to avoid any break in benefits their son or daughter is entitled to upon graduation from high school.
The grants are part of a philanthropic initiative created by Staples Foundation which allows Staples associates around the world to direct funding to nonprofit organizations that are focused on education or job skills. The program encourages local community engagement by awarding larger grants to organizations where associates are highly engaged in volunteering or fundraising -- up to $25,000 per organization.
The program, called 2 Million and Change, will award funds to organizations around the world, reaching more than $2 million in grants by the end of the year. In 2013, associates globally directed more than $2.5 million of Staples Foundation grants to 434 local nonprofit organizations in 49 states.
"Staples Foundation is committed to making a positive impact in the communities where our associates live and work," said Katy Dobbs, director of global community and giving for Staples, Inc. "Through our program, we are pleased to support our associates and the local nonprofit organizations that matter to them most."
Staples contributes to educational and youth-oriented community efforts, from literacy and mentoring to career skills development, through in-kind and monetary donations and grants from Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc. Through its community and giving efforts, Staples and Staples Foundation have helped more than 6,500 organizations in 26 countries. For information, visit www.staples.com/community.
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