NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Jennifer Sell and Sara MacGregor both have daughters with Down syndrome and both of the girls are about to age out of the public school system. With no real programs in Hamilton County to help them out after they end high school, the moms didn’t want their education to end or others facing the same issue to have problems as well.
That is why they created the school Same As U.
It’s a classroom lesson that looks like any other, and learning about the Northern Lights on Thursday was no easy task.
For the students inside the Same As U classroom, though, it’s a task they’re grateful to have.
“This is a really cool program,” said student Meghan Delaney.
It’s students like Delaney, 24, who benefit from the Same As U program the most.
Delaney has Down syndrome, and without this program, she wouldn’t have anywhere else to go.
“Because, I want to make new friends,” said Delaney.
Sell and MacGregor, at the helm of the nonprofit program, say the purpose of the school is to fill a need for more meaningful activities and programs that often stop after leaving the school system.
“What was meant just to provide education, just provided this whole sense of social opportunity. Just cool clubs that they got to be involved in, and we don’t want that to stop,” said executive director Sell.
Same As U provides full-day programs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that promote life-long learning in a college-like atmosphere. The program is primarily funded through student fees and fundraising efforts.
“We’re still challenging them to read and write and do math and learn about science and history, and it’s just so great for them. They are so eager to keep learning. They are not done with school,” said program director MacGregor.
In the classroom Thursday, the learning was evident with minds hard at work with goals, the same as you.
“They can come and know that they have a place where they belong. That we’re building a sense of community for them. They come, they’re excited and they have a sense of self worth,” said Sell.
Sell said the reason behind the name Same As U started when she saw her daughter running at a track meet. Her daughter looked at the girl she was next to, sizing her up, and it hit her — the same as you.
The program currently has about ten students enrolled. The youngest student currently enrolled is 19, the oldest is 29.
Right now, the program runs two days a week on Tuesday and Thursday. The cost is $50 for one day and $85 for both days.
If you want to learn more about the program click here.