Aggie ACHIEVE


[Miguel] A&M… it’s nice here. It’s a cool college. [Courtney] My grandfather was class of ’55. I get to carry on my family traditions. [Lexi] My parents, they wanted me to be an Aggie. Come to A&M. [Matthew] I say the program is very revolutionary. It’s one of the first in the state. [Abby] I like it, it’s actually my dream to come. To go to college. I’m free. (Music) [Dr. Gilson] I was inspired to start Aggie ACHIEVE
when I came to Texas. I realized that there was not an opportunity like this in Texas, and I worked closely with the
Center on Disability and Development to provide that option here. [Dr. Hester] The mission of Aggie ACHIEVE is to create an inclusive environment for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities to attend college here at Texas A&M, and to help them achieve their
post-school outcomes in employment. Students in the Aggie ACHIEVE program
will have the opportunity to live in the dorms here on campus. We are able to create
an inclusive environment for them, where they are going to be working
on independent living skills such as laundry and cooking,
just like any other Aggie student. [Courtney] I get to do a lot of cool stuff, and make new friends. You get to go to, like, Fish Camp,
and all kinds of stuff. [Lexi] Fish Camp is fun. But A&M is awesome. [Dr. Hester] They also take at least two
courses at Texas A&M. One in the Physical Education Activity Program. They also will take one Texas A&M course
that they’re interested in. [Matthew] This semester I’m taking
Theater History II and archery. Beginners archery, I love it. I’m learning how to shoot
a bow and arrow right and precisely. [Miguel] I’ve been here to learn. Learn is good. [Abby] Right now I’m taking dance
and theater history and a seminar. We are watching a movie
and, like, homework stuff like reading. [Lexi] I like math,
I like to read, I like to dance. I like hanging out with my friends. [Dr. Hester] In addition, students will
have access to Aggie ACHIEVEMates, which is a student recognized
organization now on campus. [Anna] Aggie ACHIEVEMates has
gotten the really cool opportunity to partner up with Aggie ACHIEVE. So, we are the student organization side of Aggie ACHIEVE. And we just provide friendship
and support to these students. We want them to have
a normal college experience. We recruited a really amazing, strong
group of Aggies who want to do just that. They just want to be a friend
and a mentor to an incoming freshman, and help them transition to life here. [Dr. Gilson] My research will continue to
follow the progress of Aggie ACHIEVE. What we were finding in developing this program is that there is not a lot of research out there on how other universities can start
initiatives like Aggie ACHIEVE on their own campus. So I’d like for us to be a leader, not only
in Texas, but across the country in helping future
universities start similar programs, and then, I’d also like to be able to
support our students who are in Aggie ACHIEVE through academic interventions
and social interventions, and ways that we can continuously improve the work that we are doing. [Dr. Hester] I hope that the students
gain lifelong friendships. College is this place where you
really do find your lifelong friends, and I hope that they leave here
with a network of support. I also hope that they leave here
with gainful employment in a career that they are interested in,
and a career that they can really move up in. [Courtney] I want to be a sports trainer and work with the
basketball and football teams at A&M, and live down here permanently. [Abby] I want to be a teacher. I want to teach kids how to act. [Dr. Hester] We really want to open up
the program to more students, and in order to do that we really need
more staff and more funding needs, because we are really based right now on donations. [Dr. Gilson] Each year, I expect that we’ll grow. As we grow, we’ll also be collaborating with
different stakeholders across campus and across the community, and across the state. [Anna] We have a culture and an environment here where inclusion and acceptance
aren’t things we have to teach people, it’s things people already know and believe in. They see it as a way of just
living out Aggie core values in their everyday life. [Matthew] Aggies stick with each other, all the time. Have each other’s backs. (Music)

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