November 27, 2018

Opportunity House Commencement

Kishwaukee College and Opportunity House, Inc. hosted the seventh annual commencement ceremony for clients who completed the Learning for Life I, Learning for Life II, and Learning for Life III programs on Monday, November 5 in Jenkins Auditorium at the College.

Receiving Certificates of Completion for Learning for Life I were the following Opportunity House clients: Sarah Carlson, Wendy Follman, Paul Larson, Consuelo Ordonez, Michael Reding, Sharon Schramer, and Miguel Skelley. Receiving Medals of Completion for Learning for Life II were Spring Bellows, Samantha Briggs, Sheila Buchholz, Sarah Bullmer, Mark Clausen, Edward Fabris, Brianne Mays, Jason Meyers, Lisa Steinbis, and Mary Titus. Receiving Plaques of Completion for Learning for Life III were Christopher Guild, Jennifer Hott, and David Roberts.

The graduates must complete 32 hours of instruction in addition to class work offered by Opportunity House itself to complete the Learning for Life I Program. On average, clients took two years to complete requirements. Clients who received their certificates live with their families, in an agency group homes, or in their own apartments and receive occasional support services from Opportunity House staff. Learning for Life II students had previously earned their Learning for Life I Certificates and completed additional coursework. Learning for Life III students completed a service project or designated community volunteer hours plus additional coursework.

The commencement ceremony included the singing of the National Anthem by Brian Perkins, Kishwaukee College maintenance staff; welcome remarks from Dr. Borowicz; congratulatory remarks from Robert Shipman, Executive Director of Opportunity House, Inc.; and commencement address by Carla Raynor, Learning for Life developer and instructor. In her commencement address, Raynor explained how proud she was of the graduates, especially how established students helped mentor the new students. She thanked The Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation and the Francis Meyers Charitable Lead Unitrust for making the Learning for Life program possible. Raynor ended with a quote from Leo Buscaglia about the impact of small acts of love and their powerful motivation for all students.

Opportunity House, Inc., located in Sycamore and serving DeKalb County, assists people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work, live in homes of their choice, and enjoy community life. Learning for Life began in 2009 and over 100 students have taken classes. The first Level III graduates of the program accepted their plaques at the commencement on November 5.

The partnership between Kishwaukee College and Opportunity House is one of the important key features of the Learning for Life Program. Through the program, the clients experience intellectually challenging materials that motivate and engage their interest and curiosity as it improves communication, academic, and social skills.