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YAP Students and Community Partners Recognized at Annual Showcase

Ms. Hillary and YAP student Students, families and community partners of the Kalamazoo RESA Young Adult Program (YAP) attended the Annual YAP Showcase on Thursday, May 16, to highlight student achievements through the work-based learning program.

Those in attendance were greeted to the joyful and uplifting sounds of the YAP Choir singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang.

The YAP students were excited and proud to share about their experiences working in the community at the Showcase. Students had a lot of confident and positive things to say about their work-based learning opportunities:

Olivia has been working at TJ Maxx and is proud about how she has “learned how to follow directions and stay focused.”

Kalamazoo College and Henderson Castle have both hosted Jalen. “Work is important to me so that I can learn new skills to be more independent,” he said.

“Work is important to me because it helps me to keep a routine. I get to socialize and help people,” said Mary on her work-based learning experiences at Heritage Community Senior Living Center.

Eden’s work experience in the YAP office has helped her to “feel a sense of being needed by helping others and making sure things run smoother,” she said.

Akira’s work at Kalamazoo Valley Community College has been important to her because it’s helped her to “gain new skills to work toward independence where I hope to live on my own,” she said.

YAP’s work-based learning program provides practical benefits to the local employers as well, and they had wonderful things to say about their experiences with YAP students:

The Morning Dish at the Radisson Plaza Hotel is excited about the important lessons the YAP students have taught their team. “Patience, understanding, teamwork. That we are all different, but the same. We love working with the students!”

“I like to see them engaging in the work they are assigned and knowing that each student walks away feeling proud of the work they are doing,” said Julie Fields, Radisson Housekeeping Manager.

The Young Adult Program also recognized three individuals as the YAP Workers of the Year. Jalen, Akira and Javion were honored for their work initiative and work ethic.

Learn more about the Kalamazoo RESA Young Adult Program (YAP) at