My Possibilities is helping people with disabilities receive the priceless gift of opportunity. The North Texas organization provides adults with cognitive disabilities the chance to continue learning once they age out of public school, filling the gap where the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ends.
Thanks to IDEA, children with disabilities in the United States receive free public school education. While in school, these children learn critical life skills, practice socializing and receive necessary interventions like speech therapy and counseling. But in many states, when a student with disabilities turns 22, federal funding goes away, and they must leave school.
That’s where My Possibilities steps in.
Founded by three mothers seeking options for their adult children, My Possibilities offers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities vocational skills, socialization opportunities, trade skills, and independent living skills. This includes people with Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger's, Prader-Willi, head injuries and more.
Perhaps most importantly, program participants, called "HIPsters" or "Hugely Important People," are able to integrate into their communities, making friends with fellow students and coworkers.
BOK Financial® Private Wealth Managing Director David Sego has seen the power of the My Possibilities first-hand. His daughter, Emily, who has Down Syndrome, is a HIPster. She initially enrolled as an online student during the pandemic and will soon begin in-person half-day classes. "We want our child to be as productive and loved as any other person," said Sego. "My Possibilities is a world-class school, and we're so lucky to have it here in North Texas."
In addition to taking classes, HIPsters have the opportunity to explore their interests, skills development and volunteer opportunities. If interested in a paid position, HIPsters can access additional support, including working one-on-one with an employment consultant to find work with a local business.
David’s daughter, Emily, recently celebrated her 15th anniversary working at Walgreens. She's an example of how people with different abilities can contribute to their communities while living a dignified and empowered life. "Everyone has potential," Sego said. "With the right help and coaching, these folks can live the life they deserve."
Sego initially learned about My Possibilities five years ago when he volunteered at a Bank of Texas service day helping to landscape the school. Impressed by the quality programming and inspired by his daughter's work success, Sego joined the nonprofit's Corporate Engagement Council. He and his fellow council volunteers recruit companies to hire HIPsters, and BOK Financial and Bank of Texas intend to hire HIPsters at one of its North Texas offices in the near future.
"Often, a company can’t imagine how a HIPster might be able to contribute," Sego explained. "I help the potential employer visualize what's possible. HIPsters are disciplined and loyal—they make excellent long-term employees if someone gives them a chance."