Prior to the opening of the MCPRS Lifelong Learning Program (LLP) facility in 1997, no other agency in our community provided an off-site day training program for people with significant medical risk factors, multiple disabilities and severe, and profound intellectual disabilities. In keeping with MCPRS’s mission, beliefs, and tenets, and with values common in our society, MCP provides comprehensive, meaningful training and experiences to allow individuals with significant challenges to get out of their homes, experience a more normal rhythm of day, and enjoy routines that are stimulating and familiar to their non-disabled peers. The program is conducted in a state-of-the-art facility consisting of classrooms, each directed by teachers/community integration specialists, and includes an art studio. The program strives to provide and develop warm nurturing relationships and care which is individualized, and responsive to individual needs. The environment is designed to enhance each student's desire to learn and to build relationships that promote positive self-identity, progress, social skills, and community engagement and integration.
The programs, supports, and services offered at the MCPRS Lifelong Learning Program engage students in new experiences and opportunities to learn and use new skills and create a rich circle of friends and support people. Careful planning ensures the support(s) students receive integrate with the support they receive in their homes. This planning is further enhanced by MCPRS residential staff accompanying the people supported (students) to the day program and returning home with them.
Program services are provided in three primary areas. These include instructional service from full-time MCPRS exceptional student education teachers/community integration specialists, Miami Dade County Adult Basic Education teacher(s), therapeutic services, and medical support. Therapeutic and medical support services are provided by a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, speech pathologist, dietitian, respiratory therapist, and nursing staff. The program is staffed to provide an appropriate ratio of Direct Support Professionals to individuals under the direction of the teachers/community integration specialists. Each staff participates in extensive orientation, on-the-job training, and on-going competency-based training to ensure the highest quality of services and support are provided. The Lifelong Learning Program Director oversees the operations and staffing of the LLP and works with the teachers/community integration specialists and the interdisciplinary team to provide creative and enriching programs and activities.
Each student has a personalized goal plan and participates in a thematically arranged classroom or activities. Currently, MCPRS offers classrooms geared towards basic academic skills, communication skills, money management, activities of daily living skills, sensory stimulation and enhancement, seniors programming, and art studio classes. The classroom activities and ambiance are guided by the needs of each individual and an overall vision of the specific area of support being offered and provides exposure to a variety of learning intended to form and develop individual interests among students. For example, the communication classroom runs specific goals for individuals and offers a variety of group activities to practice and enrich those goals and skills not only in a classroom environment but also in the community.
Supported activities at the Lifelong Learning Program include the Social Café and More run by the students which, operates as a micro-business that requires activities such as purchasing items from local community stores, setting-up the café, and conducting business-related functions to include cashier, food prep, inventory and other duties. Students also participate in the Creative Breakthrough Art Studio whereby they learn about art, create art, and sell their art during planned Art Exhibitions or through periodic catalogs. Horticulture, A bowling league, and Internet Café at local coffee shops are just a few other supported activities offered at the Lifelong Learning Program.