Missouri Governor’s Council on Disability honors SUCCEED Program, its creator

Behle Jenkins, a first-year SUCCEED student at UMSL, cheers on the UMSL Tritons

Behle Jenkins (center), a first-year SUCCEED student at UMSL, cheers on the UMSL Tritons at Pack the Stands night Feb. 6 at the Mark Twain Athletic & Fitness Center. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Less than six months after the first SUCCEED students moved into Oak Hall at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, the program’s creator has been recognized by the state of Missouri for her vision. The Missouri Governor’s Council on Disability named Deborah Baldini, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UMSL, the 22nd annual Inclusion Award winner.

The SUCCEED Program is a two-year noncredit residential program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through the program, UMSL’s goal is to provide an opportunity to experience inclusive college life while developing the skills necessary to be independent, engaged and contributing members of our state. SUCCEED is the only residential post-secondary program in Missouri.

“UMSL has emerged as a leader in fostering a culture of inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the implementation of its SUCCEED program,” according to a news release issued by the Governor’s Council on Disability.

Deborah Baldini, SUCCEED founder and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UMSL

Deborah Baldini is a SUCCEED founder and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UMSL. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Baldini, a parent of an individual with an intellectual disability, initially proposed SUCCEED, which has been five years in the making. The first cohort of 16 students began in August. SUCCEED is accepting applications for the 2014-15 academic through Feb. 15.

“I am grateful to everyone at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and the St. Louis Arc who supported and contributed to the development of the SUCCEED Program,” Baldini said. “This award honors the commitment to diversity that makes UMSL a strong leader in St. Louis and in our state. I feel proud of what we have accomplished together.”

The Inclusion Award is presented annually to recognize private and public employers, individuals and organizations that have successfully included people with disabilities in education, employment, housing, and leisure activities.

With the first SUCCEED semester just completed, Ann Wilkins, director of the program, said one of the most exciting things to see was how the students began to find their place in the UMSL community. Her list of examples included students who served as an officer for a campus club, pledged a fraternity and landed a lead role in a fall UMSL theater production.

“Students are independently managing their own daily schedules, navigating the campus and using public transportation,” Wilkins said. “We are also witnessing mutual learning experiences between SUCCEED students and non-SUCCEED students, faculty and staff at UMSL, which is one of the goals of our program.”

Media Coverage:
St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon 

The UMSL Experience


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