Group ~ Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
The EAGLES Program (Education to Accomplish Growth in Life Experiences for Success) is a comprehensive post-secondary transition program for young adults with intellectual disabilities, focusing on the Society and Wellbeing points of the Sustainability Compass. The EAGLES program advocates for and provides fair, just, and equitable ways for people with intellectual disabilities to live and work in our communities.
The program consists of five pillars: academics, personal/social, independent living, health/wellness, and employment. With each pillar, the goal is to help EAGLES students attain goals and educate those without intellectual disabilities about how to live, work, and socialize with our students. The program includes people with intellectual disabilities and traditional students. The EAGLES program is comprised of Auburn University credit-bearing and program-specific courses focused on improving students’ independent living and employment outcomes. Students participating in EAGLES are integrated into university life and academic courses.
Examples of EAGLES-specific classes include Community Engagement – focusing on giving back to the community, including shopping locally, and Health and Wellness, which includes environmental wellness and spending time in nature. Employment programs help EAGLES students prepare for obtaining gainful employment, including teaching employers about intellectual disabilities, the benefits of employing someone with an intellectual disability, and positive impacts on their business and community.
EAGLES students are taught to advocate for themselves, which promotes self-respect and independence. Students learn to cook their meals so they can live independently. They are taught the importance of order and cleanliness in their living spaces, and they receive instruction on budgeting and managing finances, which also promotes independent living.
Left to right: Betty Patten, Jessica Milton, Elyse Corbitt, Mary Grayson Nix Caden, Lauren Ozment, and Stephanie Willis