Craig Parr is a tall, strapping young man with a smile as big as his heart. On this day he sits next to his mom Theresa, with his arm around her, as he patiently poses for photos and answers questions. He’s a little nervous at all the attention, though, and his mom quietly reminds him to relax. He responds with a smile and a kiss on her cheek.
At 18 years old, Craig attends high school and is taking a course on small engine repair at Francis Tuttle. His relationship with DRTC began at Camp Tumbleweed, which he attended for three summers. The Camp’s grounds are on the DRTC campus. Campers, aged 14-21, have fun, work on self-advocacy skills, enjoy arts & crafts and take a variety of field trips. Craig’s favorite? “Harkins Theatre,” he says unequivocally. Equally unwavering is his popcorn preference. “Salt and butter,” he says.
In addition to Camp Tumbleweed, Craig participated in DRTC’s Transition School-To-Work program, which was the next step in his school’s special ed program. He’s proud to announce that he’s just gotten his learner’s permit, which his mom acknowledges like all moms do, with a slightly nervous smile.
“Craig’s self-advocacy has really become stronger since he’s been a part of DRTC,” Teresa says. “The training here really encourages them to tell someone when something isn’t right and how to (act) at a job. He’s made so many friends. He loves everyone, and he loves being here.”
This is Craig’s senior year, and one of the highlights of high school has been his career with ROTC. He’s an officer and a member of the Color Guard. “I like ROTC. We get to do fun things,” he says. His training shows. Craig is a confident, polite young man with a great sense of humor. Bowling with the Special Olympics in a special needs league is another favorite pastime, and he also likes to volunteer with other nonprofit organizations through DRTC.
Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC) is the oldest and largest community vocational training and employment center for people with disabilities in Oklahoma. With multiple locations in Oklahoma, DRTC trains or employs approximately 1,000 people with disabilities per year. Visit us online: DRTC.org.