Coach Swinney and his family owe quite a bit of gratitude to Coach Gene Stallings, former University of Alabama coach. The manner in which Coach Stallings handled the life experiences of raising a special needs child is well documented. In addition to being touched by Coach Stallings, Coach Swinney and Kathleen were also touched by Geneís son, John Mark Stallings, who was born with Down syndrome. In honor of John Mark, the Foundation supports the ClemsonLIFE Program and the University of Alabamaís RISE Program.
Statement of Need
The ClemsonLIFE Program
The ClemsonLIFE program at Clemson University is designed for students with intellectual disabilities who desire a postsecondary experience on a college campus. The mission of the ClemsonLIFE Program is to provide a coordinated course of study that includes career exploration and preparation along with self-awareness, discovery, and personal improvement through a framework of courses, job internships, and community participation.
The ClemsonLIFE Program offers a 2-year Basic Program that incorporates functional academics, independent living, employment, social/leisure skills, and health/wellness skills in a public university setting with the goal of producing self-sufficient young adults. Additionally, the ClemsonLIFE Program offers a 2-year Advanced Program for students that have demonstrated the ability to safely live independently, sustain employment, and socially integrate during the Basic Program. The Advanced Program progresses with an emphasis on workplace experience, community integration, and independent living with transitionally reduced supports. Students who successfully complete the Basic or Advanced program will receive a corresponding certificate of postsecondary education.
For more information on the ClemsonLIFE Program, please visit https://www.clemson.edu/education/culife/index.html.
The RISE Program
The RISE Program is a nationally recognized early childhood education program that is dedicated to excellence in service, research, and teaching. The program predominately serves young children with disabilities, but also includes children who do not have disabilities. The RISE model is a unique blend of early childhood education, child development, early childhood special education, and integrated therapy. The purpose of the program is to optimally prepare children for their next educational environment, and to provide support to families. RISE is a part of the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Alabama and provides opportunities for university students to experience evidence-based research practices in the field of early childhood education and early childhood special education. The RISE Center currently serves close to 100 children and their families. For more information about The RISE Program, please visit http://riseschool.ua.edu/.
Funds will come from Foundation activities including Fantasy Camp, and the foundationís two annual fund-raising functions. In April 2017, the Foundation donated $40,000 as part of Coach Stallings annual golf fund-raiser and $40,000 to the ClemsonLIFE program for student scholarship assistance. To date the Foundation has donated over $320,000 to the LIFE Programs.