Services for Youth & Young Adults

DAWN offers a variety of recreational and educational services and programs for youth with disabilities.  Current programs include:

Skills for Independent Living (SkIL)

Thanks to generous support from the United Way of Northern New Jersey, DAWN Center for Independent Living is offering a comprehensive, dynamic life skills program for teens and young adults with disabilities in Morris and Sussex counties called “Skills for Independent Living” (SkIL).  SkIL is designed to expand a broad range of critical skills necessary to live a rewarding, independent life in the community.  The four curriculum components of the program include (1) SkIL for Daily Living, (2) SkIL in the Community, (3) SkIL for Employment, and (4) SkIL for Self-Expression.

SkIL, which includes 72 hours of instructional time, is delivered during the school year during after-school hours with sessions taking place twice a week over a period of 4 – 5 months.  Summer sessions will be coordinated based on scheduling and availability.  Space is limited, so if you are interested, please contact us right away to inquire about reserving a spot.

Field trips into the community and visits from special guest speakers will reinforce curriculum topics and  provide a truly fun, hands-on learning experience.  Sessions also will include web-based interactive games, learning videos, and more.  DAWN is committed to providing the SkIL participants with a supportive, energetic environment with diverse opportunities both for group interaction and plenty of one-on-one attention.

Learning themes include:

  • “Who fired the maid?” (Keeping a Clean, Neat Home)
  • “Good habits are hard to break.” (Living Well/Healthy Choices)
  • “Making contact.” (Communicating with others)
  • “We all need somebody sometimes.” (Creating and Maintaining Positive Relationships)
  • “Hey, it’s MY life!” (Skills for an Independent Life)
  • “Getting’ out and about.” (Using Transportation)
  • “Work that works for me.” (Exploring Competitive Employment)
  • “Money isn’t funny!” (Managing Money)
  • “Some of the finer things in life.” (Exploring the Creative Arts)
  • and others.

Like all of DAWN’s programs and services, SkIL will follow the Independent Living Philosophy, which states that people with disabilities should have the same civil rights, choices, and control as do people without disabilities.  The curriculum also incorporates elements of The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD)/Youth’s “Guideposts for Success,” and the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) “Skills to Pay the Bills” curriculum.  In April 2012, Governor Chris Christie declared New Jersey as an Employment First state, making New Jersey the 14th state to adopt the initiative, which promotes employment as a top priority and preferred outcome for people with disabilities.  SkIL facilitates objectives embodied in the Employment First initiative.

View/download the complete SkIL Curriculum Summary.

Interactive Enhanced Life Skills

Utilizing a hands-on approach, this program offers life skills training to adults. Topics are designed to teach individuals the skills necessary to achieve success in all aspects of everyday life. Topics include strengthening self-reliance, self- assertiveness, self-advocacy and more. Workshops are held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of most months at our Denville office. Call ahead to register for a workshop. See calendar for dates and topics.

Computer Lab sessions also are provided through this program. Participants are provided an opportunity to learn and practice skills such as résumé writing and conduct basic online employment searches. Computer Lab takes place on the third Wednesday of the month from 11 to 2:30 p.m. in our Denville office. Space is very limited, so please call ahead.

Click here to see slides from previous Interactive Enhanced Life Skills workshops.

Click here to view the flyer for the Interactive Enhanced Life Skills program.

It’s All About Work

It’s All About Work is a suite of employment-related courses and individualized programs to support youth and adults with disabilities as they enter and navigate the world of work.  Group courses are offered to schools and school districts.  Services for youth and young adults include:

  • Tier 1 Course: Planning for Adult Life: An Introductory Course for High School Students with Disabilities (Ages 14 and Up): This course is designed to assist transition-aged students in beginning to identify their future goals and planning for life after school.  This is an eight session course to be provided at the school/district with a maximum of 12 participants.  Click to view the flyer for Tier 1 and Tier 2 Courses.
  • Tier 2 Course: Planning for Adult Life for High School Students with Disabilities (Ages 16 and Up): This course is designed to assist transition-aged students in identifying career preferences related to their interests and abilities. Students will explore the world of work through a series of hands-on and interactive school-based activities. Participants will also learn about the adult service system and skills needed for independent living. This is a ten session course to be provided at the school/district with a maximum of 12 participants. Click to view the flyer for Tier 1 and Tier 2 Courses.
  • Individual Services: One-on-one and small group services are available to assist young adults with disabilities with career selection, job search, and adjustment to work.  Services are available to eligible individuals as approved by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.  Click to view the Individual Services Flyer.

School Outreach

A program that educates children on understanding disabilities and acceptance of all people’s differences.  This program is available based on DAWN’s ability to gather speakers.  If you are interested in having this presentation made to your group, please contact us at info@dawncil.org.  We will do our best to accommodate your request.

Young Adult Recreation

DAWN provides recreation and socialization in an integrated setting to young adults, ages 16-25.  The goal of this program is to provide young adults with disabilities to participate in typical activities with their non-disabled peers.  (For upcoming events, please see our online calendar)

Franki’s Fund

Franki’s Fund offers young adults with special needs ages 14 to 25 an opportunity to explore artistic and vocational pursuits that will enrich their lives and expand their horizons. More information…

AKTION Club (Young Adults)

A partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Morris County, DAWN serves as the host for this club which provides an opportunity for young adults 18 and over to develop leadership skills, provide community service to others, and engage in social activities. More information…


Learn about additional services provided by DAWN:

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