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HEELS Prep Program Testimonials

“All adolescents need to learn these skills. Some need additional supports to move their development forward, and HEELS Prep provides one mechanism for making this happen. I am excited to see how his program will mature and become even more impactful in the coming years.” – Stephen R. Hooper, Associate Dean and Chair of the DHS

“Ever since I can remember, I have had an interest in sports. I learned this week that I need more experience in cleaning sports equipment, setting up for drills, and fixing equipment. I hope I can continue to apply what I learned here toward my future goals, even if they change.” – Jake Gerber, HEELS Prep alumnus



“I think the living skill she learned is that being an adult is hard and requires help! She said, ‘being an adult is hard. I need help.’ This was great.”–  Parent of HEELS Prep Alumna


“He was empowered with some skills to help make him feel confident about trying to do things on his own” – Parent of HEELS Prep Alumna

“The HEEL Powers and schedule were great tools for the participants and I could see by the end of the week they were really putting those pieces together for everyday application. I think the class really helped them reflect on what their roles and responsibilities are as an adult.” – HEELS Prep Staff


“Saying the speech at the end of the week made me feel proud and excited about the future.”– Max Van Name, HEELS Prep Alumnus



“We look at the materials about every other day!” – Parent of HEELS Prep Alumna

“It is a valuable and unique program that addresses the needs of a largely overlooked population. I appreciated the interdisciplinary nature of the program, as the content was informed by a wide range of expertise. It was a gainful experience for all involved– not just the participants, but the instructors and grad students were learning how to best support them” – Jacklyn Googins, HEELS Prep Coordinator

“The HEELS Prep program offered my students the unique opportunity to develop coaching and counseling skills, while also assisting young adults with disabilities achieve greater self-determination. Student’s shared stories in class about the deep and meaningful bond they created with their matched participant, and the progress they saw over the program’s duration. For many, it solidified their interest in working with this population. In summary, the HEELS program is not only beneficial for the participants, but it is a great teaching and training tool for students. It helps them develop core counseling skills that undoubtedly will benefit them as future counseling professionals.” – Dr. Morrison, Assistant Professor, Division of Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling