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Developmentally disabled students at MSU get support through new program

Posted at 6:36 PM, Nov 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-28 20:36:36-05

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Jack Milkovich is a freshman at Montana State University and a Great Falls native. He is one of the first seven students to be a part of the Learning is for Everyone program, better known as the Life Scholars Program.

The new program is for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities at MSU.

“My mom said it’s like a pilot and I was excited to get accepted to it,” Milkovich said.

As the only fully inclusive offering in the state, MSU’s pilot program is truly one of a kind for Montana.

Life scholars in the program meet with peer partners throughout the week to not only work on school work, but to also engage in the campus community.

Life Scholars Program Director Christy Sofianek said, “It gives them the opportunity to have a college experience, gain skills, develop lifelong learning, self determination and have a college experience just like all other traditional students.”

“I meet with Emelyn and she helps with my speaking class and she’s in class with me on Mondays and Fridays and she doesn’t like when I hang out with other people,” Milkovich said.

These life scholars aren’t the only ones benefiting from this new program.

“We spend a lot of time together and I think he gets frustrated with me but I don’t know, he makes me very proud and I’m glad I get to work with him,” said MSU senior and peer mentor Emelyn Albright.

MSU has supported the program from the very beginning stages, creating opportunity for everyone involved.

“Really embrace learning for everybody, really embraces this idea that we all have gifts and we all have skills and talents. Given the right opportunities to explore and to learn, all of us can contribute to our communities,” Sofianek said.

The program is looking forward to growing in years to come and hopes to not only expand in the number of students but also what the program can offer.