Transition Fair at the Ranch

May 19, 2022

On Saturday April 23rd, Candlelight Ranch and the Arc of the Capital hosted individuals and families from our local Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled (I/DD) community by providing a fun and informative transition fair. This fair, with the aid of non-profits and government agencies, assisted individuals and their families with information sessions, vendor booths, and family fun activities. The purpose of this fair was to provide resources for families with a loved one with special needs and link local, attainable resources that may ease the transition out of school services and into adulthood.

During a child and families time in the public special education system, there are a wealth of resources and professionals available to assist students and parents in meeting their son or daughters academic and emotional needs.  There is a lack of a bridge to resources available to families after their loved one graduates from high school and next steps are not always clear.  Parents of a child that is aging out of the public education system, often face this milestone with not only anxiety but many unanswered questions. Many parents are left wondering; How will their child spend each day? How will they continue to feel fulfilled, make friends and socialize? What employment options are available? Where will they live when they can no longer live at home? Who is looking out for them when parents no longer can? Our transition fair, in partnership with the Arc, sought to answer those intimidating, quality of life, questions by creating a space where families could gather without fear of the future, enjoy the healing benefits of nature.  Families were able to talk face to face with organizations that provide direct aid all within the sensory friendly, fun, and healing environment of the Ranch!

The fair was attended by 45 participants and 17 vendors that hosted information booths.  Participating agencies included, Integral Care, Texas Parent to Parent, Texas ABLE Account, Superior HealthPlan, Texas Technology Access Program, Solutions for Special Needs Families, Focus Behavioral Associates, Any Baby Can, Friends Shine Online, Downhome Ranch, J’Miah’s Place, Lifelong Learning with Friends, E4 Texas and ARCIL Inc. In addition to vendor booths, professional speakers from the Arc of the Capital and Any Baby Can lead informative sessions on guardianship, employment, and ABLE accounts. Additionally, one on one case management sessions were offered to families by Arc staff. Families also participated in a hike touring Candlelight Ranch and learned about edible and medicinal plants and the healing benefits of nature. Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge connected families to the Central Texas ecosystem with their Mobile Ranger Station and Junior Ranger program.  Participants had the opportunity to practice casting skills and learn about fishing in Texas waterways through the fun and informative Backyard Bass program. Families also practiced new skills with art and yoga lessons, shot archery and took many first leaps on the ziplines.

We are incredibly grateful to partner with the Arc of the Capital Area and their staff for their hard work, dedication, incredible talents, and resources that made this fair possible! Thank you to all the vendors and volunteers who gave of their time and professional knowledge for the families we serve.

For additional information check out the Transition Resource Guide.