2013 Winner - Kujan Grimes

 Kujan Grimes using a laptop.

Kujuan Grimes is a senior student at St. Coletta Special Education Public Charter School. He is 21-years-old and will be graduating from the school’s vocation-based program next year. The Eric Fund is providing him with an iPod Touch that has a speaking feature to assist him with communicating to his peers, teachers and potential new employers after graduation.

Kujuan has a great interest in cooking and weekly goes with his class to Harris Teeter to purchase ingredients for a Cooking and Healthy Snacks program. To gain job skills and experience, he has gone to the Department of Labor, USDA, and St. Coletta’s Glass Studio to increase vocational experience and needed skills. Kujuan plans out his schedule, completes daily activities related to a weekly theme and participates in electives such as, horticulture, art, and music.

Receiving the iPod means that Kujuan can better communicate with friends, ask people questions while in the community, and have an improved job search process as he transitions out of St. Coletta. Kujuan says the iPod will provide him with a “cool way” of expressing himself with his friends and reduces the amount of pressure when unfamiliar listeners cannot understand him. According to the St. Coletta staff, this device will not only increase Kujuan’s self-advocacy, but will increase his self-confidence by helping him communicate independently.