April 27, 2023 By CDHD Tools for Life 2023 wrap-up Tools for Life 2023 was a hit! This year’s event drew record student attendance as high school students with disabilities met up in Boise to learn about life after high school. A total of 179 students attended – a large jump in numbers over last year’s 90! Students, family members and professionals were all treated to an exceptional event, with: nearly 30 breakout sessions covering key post-secondary transition topics five featured activities, including a virtual career training experience two keynote presentations by the Phillips family adaptive movement classes an exhibitors hall and dance party. 94% of students reported that they were happy with their conference experience, and 94% found the information presented in the breakout sessions was helpful. You can find out more about this year’s stats in the 2023 Tools for Life Event Report (PDF). Featured activities Attendees this year had the option to participate in five different featured activities in addition to the line-up of breakout sessions. These activities included: career technical education (CTE) Reality Town Experience Boise State University campus tour Movement in the Park adaptive movement classes designated parent sessions. CTE was a new addition to this year’s event. Presented by Nampa School District staff, it offered the chance for students to experience hands-on job experiences focused on construction, culinary arts, robotics and ornamental horticulture. 30 students took advantage of this opportunity. The Reality Town Experience – a Fair staple – also saw a new edition with the integration of a lemonade stand. The lemonade stand was added to provide information to those who receive social security but would also like to work. During the experience, students are asked to visit different booths that simulate real life financial demands. They use a monthly budget and make spending decisions with the aim of ending up ‘in the black’ at the end of the month. Parent and educators Family members and professionals were also able to take part, with dedicated parent and educator sessions offering information and resources for those who support students with disabilities. Parents could choose from three different sessions, covering steps to independent living and guardianship alternatives. Educators also had the opportunity to attend a session on increasing parent engagement to the transition process. 100% of parents and educators found the breakout session they attended helpful. With 2023 wrapped up, we’re looking ahead to 2024. The Fair is set to be held in Pocatello, with plenty of up-to-date, innovative and relevant resources available to all who attend. Keep your eyes on Tools for Life webpage for all the latest information.