In honor of Autism Month in April, the College Internship Program’s five national Centers of excellence are giving back to the larger communities that help support them. Team members and students are mobilizing to celebrate and showcase the abilities and achievements of neurodivergent young adults.
The College Internship Program, or CIP, is a comprehensive and specialized transition program helping young adults ages 18-26 with autism and learning differences find success in college, employment, and independent living. Their five Center locations are across the country - two in California, one in Indiana, and Florida, and the flagship Center is in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.
Established almost four decades ago, CIP’s mission is centered around Founder and Psychologist Dr. Michael McManmon’s tenet of, “You are made for good purpose and are inherently valuable.” Students enrolled in CIP’s year-round programs live in a supported apartment setting with peers while learning under the guidance of expert staff. Students practice skills and techniques they can use to successfully navigate social skills, independent living, college academics, and life in a way unique to their own needs.
This year, CIP’s Centers are rallying around Autism Month to give back to the various surrounding communities that they are a part of.
CIP Brevard in Melbourne, Florida will participate in an event with the US Coast Guard where the students themselves will help train workers on the needs of autistic people. Additionally, the Center is holding ‘Unmasking Autism”, a formal dance and gala complete with a three-course meal for the local community.
In CIP’s Berkeley, California Center, students are collaborating with Berkeley Youth Alternatives, a community-based organization, to conduct a City of Berkeley Park and Recreation Center clean-up. CIP Berkeley will also join over 40,000 other walkers across the country in The Best Buddies Friendship Walk - the leading walk in the country supporting inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In Long Beach, California, students will be holding a question and answer session with the Long Beach Fire Department for training and to raise awareness of the needs of autistic individuals. Students will also host a food drive and run a booth with sensory activities at a local Autism Acceptance Fair.
The Bloomington, Indiana local farmer’s market will see CIP Bloomington students designing and operating a booth complete with special presentations each weekend in April on various topics surrounding autism as well as an interactive community art project.
And in Lee, Massachusetts, CIP Berkshire presents the opening of CIP’s National Student Art Contest exhibit at the Good Purpose Gallery, an art gallery dedicated to sharing the unique and creative perspectives of neurodiverse people. With art submissions from around the country, the annual art show brings a myriad of mediums including creative writing and 3D artwork, and featured student presentations to a live audience.
“What an amazing opportunity to bring our community partners together, to shine a light on the unique qualities which neurodiverse people contribute to the community, and to recognize the abilities of autistic people everywhere”, stated Matthew Kosiorek, Director of CIP Berkshire about the art show opening.
The goal of CIP’s Autism Month initiative is to allow students to collaboratively work together with each other and other members of the community to facilitate opportunities for individuals with and without autism to spread acceptance, inclusion - and most importantly - appreciation of the extensive and expansive abilities and talents woven into the autistic community.
The College Internship Program is a comprehensive transition program for young adults on the Autism Spectrum and with Learning Differences. Our Mission is to inspire independence and expand the foundation on which young adults with Autism, ADHD, and other Learning Differences can build happy and productive lives.