Meet Brandon, he’s 23, likes making cookies, has autism, and now, he is going to college. Having been accepted to the Beyond Limits Program at Bethany Global University, he is accomplishing a life milestone and taking a step toward his next phase of independence.
Brandon said, ‘I’m going to college!’ and he had the biggest grin!
Brandon’s success is an example of what is possible for people to achieve with self-directed care. He not only lives in his own apartment at home, but contributes to, participates in, and improves his community. The Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) program, of which Brandon is a participant, allows him and his family to make care choices that best suit his needs and goals. Brandon has been a part of the MRCI CDCS program for nearly 20 years, and in that time, he has worked with his direct care workers to develop the skills to increase his independence. No stranger to hard work, he has been employed at Davanni's in Minnetonka since 2019 and graduated from the Vector program at South Education Center in Richfield, Minnesota that same year. The skills Brandon has learned along the way would prove valuable in his application and acceptance into college.
Brandon had the right answers and the right skills, all that was left to do was wait and see if he had been accepted.
For Brandon to be accepted into the college, he and members of his family went through interviews with college staff to determine his readiness. Thanks to his hard work, his direct care workers, and his family, he was. “[The interviewers] asked him about conflict situations, like ‘what happens if your roommate eats the last cookie you made?’ and he answered, ‘I’d make more!’” said his stepmother, Kathy. “They’d never had that answer before!” Brandon had the right answers and the right skills, all that was left to do was wait and see if he had been accepted.
When the acceptance letter finally arrived by email, his dad, Paul, printed it and placed it on the table before breakfast. When he came up for breakfast, he started to figure out what was going on. He noticed the letter and when he read it Brandon said, “I’m going to college!” and he had the biggest grin! It was a special moment made even sweeter by the presence of his brother, Torey and his fiancé, Kelly, who were visiting from Detroit.
The Beyond Limits Program that Brandon will be attending combines practical training, college courses, life skill classes and student life. The practical training includes an on-campus job to teach students job-related skills. Brandon will take courses alongside other BGU students in a standard classroom environment; he will also be able to take specialized courses in valuable life skills like grocery shopping, cooking, and balancing a budget. He will get the campus-life experience and stay in an on-campus apartment with 3 other Beyond Limits students and two trained Resident Assistants (RAs).
Congratulations Brandon from all of us at MRCI Client Directed Services, and good luck! Thank you to Brandon's family for sharing his success with us.
Stories like Brandon’s are at the heart of what we do at MRCI-CDS. There is no greater feeling for us than to see program participants living and thriving in their homes and communities. If you have a self-direction story you would like to share, we would love to hear it. If you’d like to know more about self-directed programs, you can do that on our programs page.