LPS teams with City for Transition Program

animal picstitch

Lawton Public Schools has teamed with the City of Lawton again this year for student internship opportunities through the LPS Transition program – a transitionary education program that allows special needs students to adapt for life in the workplace. The program is designed for 18-22 year olds and focuses on overall development and skill-building.

Lawton Animal Welfare is one COL site that hosts several students through this program. The students care for shelter animals and also assist in traditional office work, such as filing and paperwork organization.

City of Lawton Animal Welfare Superintendent Russell Anderson said he takes pride in the work these students produce, and that his staff appreciates the helping hands.

“It’s very important to work with these students after they graduate and give them a base from which to go off of,” Russell said. “It’s always great to see them interact with the animals; you can tell that there’s a special sort of connection there.”

Anderson also said the program is an excellent way to connect the City with its students.

“The program allows us to give back to the community and these students,” he said. “The City does a lot of good here, allowing these kids to grow and do really great things. These students help us as much as we help them.” 

The primary teacher for the transitionary students at Animal Welfare is Melissa Lemen, who said she loves what she does and wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s great when you see these kids continuing to improve,” Lemen said. “Our program is a wonderful thing for the betterment of these kids’ lives. It’s really rewarding when the kids who have gone through the program see me in the store, give me a hug and tell me all about how well they’re doing – it makes every moment worth having. I love my job.”

Treyvon Whetstone, who began the LPS Transition Program this summer, said he enjoys all of the tasks he is assigned at the shelter.

“I really like the cats,” he said. “I feel like we all get along well and that I belong here. I like the experiences that I go through.”

Another recently admitted student is Gabriel Lenning, who said he likes the atmosphere.

“It’s calming,” he said. “I feel like everything is just fun. It’s nice to get to know the animals, and they’re my favorite part.”

More information on the LPS Transition Program may be found at lawtonps.org.

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