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The Unique Boutique helping kids with special needs prepare for life after school

The West Ada School District's Adult Transition Academy is working
Posted at 4:22 PM, Mar 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-05 18:22:18-05

MERIDIAN, Idaho — The Unique Boutique is unique because it helps kids with special needs get ready for life after school.

  • The Unique Boutique is the West Ada School District's Adult Transition Academy
  • Students with special needs get the training they need to prepare for the entering the workforce
  • Parents can ask their school's case managers for information

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

I spent the day getting to know the kids that have experienced Unique Boutique and I was thoroughly impressed. I was welcomed by Hanna who now works at Kidz Again retail store in Meridian. Hanna is one of many students who have gone through a West Ada transitional program that helps students with special needs get ready for life after high school. Here, the students collect, price and sell clothing, and interact with customers.

 Ethan took what he learned at Unique Boutique and now works at Goodwill organizing shelves.

Angie Hickman, the Adult Transition Special Education Leader says any parent can contact their case manager at their high school for more information. Hickman explained, “if they are diagnosed with a disability, then they are eligible to stay in school until the semester in which they turn 21. So then, those students come over to our program, to keep them in school instead of doing a traditional graduation.”

Students like Mikayla, who now works two days a week at Garbanzo's Pizza in Meridian.

"The teachers inspired me to come here and get a job, and that I needed one. And so, I was just like, 'okay I'll take it," Mikayla told me.

Hickman added that parents can get more information from their schools case managers.

Mikayla's boss, Carlee Simpson, is the owner of Garbanzo’s Pizza and has partnered with the school district for years. She says this program is so important for these kids. “I just love kids, and I love the program. I love that it helps them build self confidence. And to see them from day one, come in not sure of themselves, what they can do of themselves, and watch them grow and bloolm. And then I get new students," said Simpson.

Roberto is like the senior spokesman, because he went through a similar program another high school years ago. Now, Roberto is a valued employee at Idaho Pizza Company in Eagle. “They help me with interviews, we did job interviews, life skills, hygiene and all that stuff. I can’t thank the program enough for what they did for me," said Roberto.

And they are always looking for donations. So if you can help them out it would be much appreciated.