The Sunrise Adult Training Centre is celebrating 20 years of service to Grand Cayman this month.
The facility was launched in 1986, building upon the success of the Lighthouse School of Special Education, said a GIS press release.
This parent school was established by the Presbyterian Church in Boatswain Bay, West Bay in 1976 to provide care for children with special needs.
The successful programme moved from the church on the hill, to a new facility in George Town, but maintained the landmark name of Lighthouse School.
As these children from throughout Grand Cayman attended this school for several years, and grew past their teen years, it soon became necessary for a facility which catered to those past the traditional school age – thereby giving birth to the Sunrise Adult Training Centre.
Since opening with nine students two decades ago, scores of young people have been assisted in living with their disabilities, and living and enjoying life as productively and as happily as possible.
The programme moved to the existing facility in Barkers in 2002, and the number of clients has doubled since then.
While there are currently 47 clients, the Centre has an expanding waiting list, including five students who are expected to graduate from the Lighthouse School next year.
Explaining the progress and achievement, Director Roberta Gordon said, ‘Over the years, the success of this treatment programme has been when each client lived up to the school’s mission – and became young adults who have benefited from the therapeutic and educational efforts of the centre, and are able to function more independently, and in many cases, to hold long-term employment.’
There are many such clients who have reached this pinnacle. Some are still employed after many years – often with the same company. Only the post-Ivan situation interrupted this employment history for many of these young men and women.
Mrs. Gordon commented that most of these trainees had, as children, one or more debilitating deficiencies. Some could not walk, others could not talk; most had varying degrees of learning disabilities.
Through their personal efforts and determination, the clients have overcome many of these circumstances, and have endeared themselves to the wider population.
‘In this social embrace, they have done even more than the awareness programmes to overcome the stigma and social isolation of having a disability in our culture,’ she added.
Increasingly, the clients are demonstrating that their success in life must also be marked by their personal satisfaction, especially with the fulfilment of the basic need for companionship and committed relationships.