Ethel's Tree of Life has been a prominent part of my son's life for the past 3 years. Originally, I thought it would be a great social outlet for him as he has autism and his social skills are at a much lower level than his peers...I was wrong!!!! ETL is a group of peers who support and learn with and from each other under the guidance of some spectacular volunteers and one incredibly dedicated lady. The 8-week modules are broken down so that these students with disabilities can learn from the very basic to the finished product in genres such as food/nutrition, job search/career paths, as well as finding your way around a city and trying new things. When these students get together, they smile more, communicate better, and become a participatory part of our society.
ETL has proved to be an excellent resource for youth with special needs. I have found the director, Linda Higgins, to be willing to collaborate on individual cases and to be willing to provide services that support youth who, despite an obvious need for support in developing occupational and independent living skills, are typically unable to access intensive case management and employment support services provided by public entities because their disabilities are deemed too mild to require such services. ETL is a valuable resource forSeacoast youth who are working to develop independent living skills and overcome barriers to employment.