Golisano Foundation Provides $120,000 Grant to LARC

By: LARC Inc
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Aug. 28, 2019 - PRLog -- Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens was awarded a $120,000 grant from the Golisano Foundation to support the expansion of LAB:  Learn, Achieve, Become.   LAB will offer an experiential learning environment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) that transforms traditional program areas into spaces for innovation, vocation, demonstration and learning.  Five Labs will focus on skills for work and independent living.

"The goal of LAB is to prepare individuals with IDD for success and meaningful inclusion in our community," said Kevin Lewis, LARC Executive Director. "That requires important skills that build upon each other including vocational training, self-care, managing their day to day environment, navigating technology, and interacting with others.  LAB works because of each of these layers.

The Golisano Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the nation devoted to supporting programs and services for individuals with IDD, founded by philanthropist and entrepreneur Tom Golisano.

The grant will support phase two of LAB, which prepares space for the Wellness and Smart Living Labs on LARC's campus.  The grant supports a LAB staff person who will oversee and implement the curriculum.   The Wellness Lab provides a place to learn about healthy living, fitness, nutrition, oral health, advocacy, skills for self-care; all paramount to success in everyday work and life.  The Smart Living Lab teaches people how to live in a touch screen world, from ordering meals, navigating transportation, applying for jobs, operating appliances,and using the internet.

"There are 3,700 children in Lee County Schools with cognitive disabilities and the Foundation's support will allow us to prepare the individuals we currently serve and future generations to live more independent and fulfilling lives," said Angela Katz, LARC Development Director.

"We appreciate the important role and services LARC has provided to those with IDD in Lee County over the organization's long, proud history.  We're happy to assist the agency as it evolves to address current and future needs by creating opportunities for independent living in a more inclusive community in SW Florida," said Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation.

The Wellness and Smart Living LABs will complement the LAB for Living, which opened in July.  LAB for Living is an apartment-style setting that provides participants with hands-on training in daily living skills. Phase three will include the Vocational Exploration Lab, with a commercial culinary training kitchen, and the Collaboration Lab, which will introduce LARC participants to changemakers in our community.  All of the Labs will be accessible to LARC participants as well as families.  Over time, LARC's goal is to offer schools and other likeminded organizations access.

To learn more about LARC and LAB, contact Angela Katz at 239-334-6285 x229, angelakatz@larcleecounty.org or visit www.larcleecounty.org.

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