Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities, in partnership with Anixter Center and City Colleges of Chicago, announces an all-new, first of its kind program called After 22, that will provide young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to continue to receive educational services after they age out of the Chicago Public Schools system. This program is being funded by Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities, an investment of over $525,000. 

The After 22 program is beginning at Richard J. Daley College, and will provide a college experience for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Participants will have the opportunity to attend college courses that will help them advance their education and develop job skills. Through the program, each student will have access to staff support to help them identify additional opportunities outside the classroom based on their interests. They will now have the opportunity to be placed in internships, jobs, or other programs centered on sports or recreation. 

Here is a quick video that explains the After 22 program, courtesy of Anixter Center: https://youtu.be/Pe8Dk7TfdWs

Prior to the After 22 program, individuals with disabilities would typically be placed on a waitlist for services through the State of Illinois for an average of five to seven years. In that time, they often experienced significant learning and skill loss, as well as missing out on social interaction and life-enriching opportunities.

It is our hope to expand this program in the future to include more participants and additional City College locations. Our vision is that one day any student with developmental disabilities that wants the opportunity to attend college and find meaningful employment can do so. 

This program would not be possible without the incredible, unwavering support of people like you. It is through your donations, participation in the Chicago Polar Plunge, and overall support of our athletes that the After 22 program is now a reality. 

Thanks also to the many partners who helped create this program, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, President of the SOC/SCC Board of Directors Carolyn Daley, SOC/SCC Board Member Matt O’Shea, City Colleges Chancellor Juan Salgado, Daley College President Janine Janosky, Rebecca Clark from the Anixter Center, and Principal Josh Long from South Side Occupational Academy High School. Their vision and support have given us the opportunity to implement a program for individuals with developmental disabilities that is truly life-changing.
To receive more information on the After 22 program, please visit https://anixter.org/after-22-program/.