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One Class at a Time: Ms. Allison Borland teaches special needs students to lead independent lives

Meet Allison Borland, a teacher at the Special Education Association of Peoria County’s ‘Rise Program.’

She is this week’s One Class at a Time $1,000 grant winner.

SEAPCO-Rise is a co-op that helps individuals with special needs transition from being in school, to independent life.

“All these students have graduated high school,” said Borland,  “They’ve done four years and now they are moving into the next part of their lives so they are wanting to get jobs and become independent. This program helps them do all those things.”

Some of the skills these students learn include cooking, cleaning, organization, and more.

Victoria Williams is one of Ms. Borland’s students and said the cooking class is her favorite.

“We go grocery shopping every Monday and we make our lunch by hand, each student,” said Williams,  “and Ms. Borland gives us each tasks. The tasks give us more improvement of the cooking skills we have.”

With increasing grocery prices, buying food for the class each week can get pricey. Borland is hoping to tackle that rising cost by installing a ‘grow your own garden.’ It’s that idea that led Polly Greenway to nominate her coworker for the One Class at a Time grant.

“We have a range of students here who are working on some functional daily living skills. Learning how to go out into the community, cook their own meals here, so a lot of these strengths that they are working on, Allison is able to bring into the classroom,” Greenway said.

Her students are grateful too!

Molly Jirasek

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