PORTSMOUTH- – Thanks to programs at Scioto County Developmental Disabilities and Project Life at the Scioto County Career Technical Center, Maxwell Edwards is learning about life skills, helping others, and advocating for himself.
Maxwell’s guardian Melissa Gampp is also an intervention specialist at the Vern Riffe School.
“My parents both retired from the Career Technical Center, and I had done some long-term subbing out there years ago. During the Scioto County Fair my mother ran into some of the folks who work out there and learned about the Project Life program. So we talked with Maxwell about it and thought it might be something that he would enjoy and excel at,” Gampp said.
Through the Project Life program, Maxwell is able to work at the Scioto County Career Technical Center, where he washes dishes and cleans floors and windows. He also completed CPR training and works an internship in the laundry room at Hillview Retirement Center. Gampp said the purpose of the Project Life program is to provide individuals with skills that they can apply in outside work environments.
“He did a lot of those types of vocational skills at the Vern Riffe School before he went out there, so he came in with a base level of skill sets. They have really done a great job with him, and I have no doubt that the work we did with him at our school helped prepare him for that program,” Gampp said.
One of Maxwell’s favorite jobs is cooking, and he works with a crew at the Career Technical Center that makes dog treats to sell at the Portsmouth Farmers Market.
“I like to feed the dogs and give them treats,” Maxwell said. “I like helping people. I like to go and give my friends a big hug when they get sad. Project Life is fun, and I hope people will come and tell us they like Project Life.”
Maxwell is doing so well that he has received a Citizenship Award in recognition of his work to help cheer up others when they are sad. Gampp said the program at the Career Technical Center has been good in helping Maxwell learn how to interact with his peers and how to advocate for himself.
“For Maxwell and his classmates, it’s important for them to make a contribution to society and be a good citizen. Maxwell and his classmates are showing that through the work that they are doing. We all have our own abilities and he’s doing very well,” Gampp said. “For as long as I’ve known Maxwell, he has been very eager to please and a very hard worker. Any challenge put in front of him he has overcome, and he has not ever been down.”
Maxwell also plays basketball for the Vern Riffe School Cardinals, and he enjoys singing, dancing, and watching YouTube videos. Coming up, Maxwell said he’s looking forward to attending both proms this year – one at the Career Technical Center and one at Vern Riffe School. After graduation, Maxwell said he would like to work with the Scioto County Developmental Disabilities office as a Service and Support Administrator (SSA) to help others learn valuable life skills.
For more information about the programs and services at Scioto County Developmental Disabilities, call 740-353-0636 or visit online at www.sciotodd.org, and like and follow them on Facebook and TikTok.