Students in two Community Transition Campus classes recently raised $440 for disease research in the fourth annual Consumers Credit Union Purple Community 5K run/walk. The 18- to 26-year-old students from CTC at North Kent joined CTC at Eberhard students, who also took part in last year’s event. All proceeds go to the Van Andel Institute for research on cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases.
The CTC is a center-based program run by Grand Rapids Public Schools that helps young adults with disabilities make the transition to the workplace. Many students work in GRPS cafeterias or in local businesses such as Kingma’s Market. Jenna Darcy, a teacher at CTC at Eberhard, conceived the idea to have students take part in the event as way to contribute to the community. North Kent CTC teacher Betty Bartus got her 11 students on board this year.
The fact students have a disability such as cognitive impairment or autism spectrum disorder “is only one part of them,” said Bartus, whose class meets at Faith Lutheran Church.
“I think it’s great they feel like they’re part of something bigger, and they’re helping causes,” Bartus said. “It’s just one way to boost their self-esteem.”