April 28, 2014
Jasmine Saenz has come a long way and grown into the hard worker she is today with
the help of Texas Tech University’s Burkhart Transition Academy.
Jasmine has been a store associate at Goodwill since 2009. She interacts with customers, hangs clothes and organizes the store daily.
“When Jasmine started with us, she wasn’t very active in the store,” said Sandra Perez, chief operating officer for Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas. “Through the years as she got acclimated to our environment, she has improved in her overall self and is a great example of what we do here at Goodwill.”
The 25-year-old graduated from the Burkhart Transition in 2011.
Robin Raney, CEO of Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas, said Goodwill’s mission is to help people remove barriers to employment. Goodwill does this by focusing on individual’s abilities, not disabilities.
The Burkhart Transition Academy’s mission is to increase the quality of life for individuals with autism and their families by providing services, preparing educators and conducting research.
“The Burkhart Center helped me in a lot of ways,” Jasmine said. “I made new friends,
learned how to do things on my own and now I work at a place I love.”
During Jasmine’s spare time, she likes to sing, hang out with friends at the Stangel/Murdough dining hall and watch movies. She thanks the Burkhart Transition Academy for providing her with various opportunities to get involved.
“Jasmine is truly one of our success stories,” Perez said. “Working with Jasmine is a blessing because of her friendly personality and the hard work she puts in each day at Goodwill.”
As part of Autism Awareness Month, Texas Tech Today is highlighting the work done by the Burkhart Transition Academy. Several academy graduates earn jobs on and off campus, thanks to partnerships between the academy and different businesses in the Lubbock community. Throughout the month, we will highlight some of the students who benefit from these partnerships.
The Burkhart Transition Academy is part of the College of Education’s Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research. It provides postsecondary educational strength-based assessment to aid people with autism-spectrum disorder (ASD) transition to postsecondary higher education and vocational settings.
Classes for young adults with ASD having completed high school meet four days per week to teach life, job and social skills.
The 2014 Burkhart Walk for Autism Awareness will be held 2 p.m. April 27 (Sunday) at Jones AT&T Stadium. The walk is open to all members of the community, and participants can sign up individually or as teams. To learn more or register for the walk, click here