If you're a parent of a special needs child your biggest concerns include what will happen to that child after you're gone.
Indeed, special needs students go through school. But what next? What jobs can they get? There are some out there, but they are few and far between and they may not offer that all important shot at independence.
Rising Stars Academy in Centerline is different. The new 501(c)3 non-profit charter school is the only of its kind in the United States, according to founder Mark Prentiss, a culinary chef and instructor, who with his wife Debbie has founded an actual academy dedicated to getting special needs adults into the workplace.
The school, housed in a refurbished elementary school in Center Line boasts five acres of farm land, two hoop houses, a professional, commercial kitchen and a classroom and even chicken for fresh eggs and a fresh take on learning. In November those desks will be turned into restaurant tables for the public to take a seat and be served by the students who will be learning cooking skills, farming skills and food service skills.
Any special needs adult between the age of 18 to 26 has a seat in the living classroom to learn life skills that will give them their best shot at independence. And because the school is a charter school, authorized by Centerline with a grant through the Michigan Department of Education, tuition is free. The student must have a certificate of completion from High School.
Rising Stars is also looking for other organizations to put their well-qualified grads to work after completion of their coursework. An incredible return on investment is to support the school, send in volunteers to help with the coursework and cultivate a ready supply of qualified kitchen and restaurant staff.
For more information on enrollment or partnerships go to www.risingstars2013.com.