RRPS program helps students map out life after high school

[anvplayer video=”5164477″ station=”998122″]

RIO RANCHO, N.M. – The Annual Transition Expo returned to Rio Rancho Public Schools Thursday morning to help students map out their next steps.

More than 30 community and state service providers set up booths in the concert hall atrium at V. Sue Cleveland High School, each with their own programs and options for students preparing to graduate or who have recently graduated. While the focus for many of these vendors was to help students and young adults with learning challenges, organizers told KOB 4 this event was for everyone.

“We have Division of Vocational Rehabilitation,” Transition Specialist for RRPS Maxine Cordova said. “They provide support services to students with disabilities. We also have the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. They also provide support to students, and then we have Project SEARCH.”

Ben Vigil is an instructor for the job development program at Rust Hospital.

“We’re trying to find them jobs, teach them jobs skills, self-advocacy, teaching them just anything they’re going to need to be independent,” he explained.

The event took a three-year break during the pandemic, but Cordova was happy to say most services made a comeback this year, including horse therapeutic riding nonprofit Loving Thunder.

“We’re wanting everybody to know that Loving Thunder’s available for special needs individuals and share the volunteer opportunities that we have,” co-owner Twuana Raupp said. “Anything to do with a horse, of course, cleaning up after them and watering them and feeding them, and then of course, working with the riders, as a side walker or horse leader.”

Raupp said there are plenty of opportunities for individuals who have challenges with life.

“It’s important to have these programs and these expos available,” Cordova added. “So students can explore different options, because a lot of students do not know what’s out there and what’s available for them.