The Vital Years: Getting The Most Of MCB From Ages 14-22

MCB is at their very best helping families and clients navigate changes toward school, college, or work. Here's how to make the most of it.
A visually impaired girl sitting at her desk


How MCB helps:

Mayanne MacDonald-Briggs, MCB Counselor
“At age 14, blind students transition from having an MCB Children's Social Worker into the Vocational Rehabilitation program. From ages 14-22 — essentially until they graduate — we begin to focus on what's next beyond high school.”

Brittany Taylor, MCB Counselor
“At MCB, we call these years 'transition.' I begin working with students around age 14, then will continue on with them through adulthood — even through to when they're retired.”

Sara Regan, parent of two blind children/MCB Clients
“Our counselor introduced herself and immediately began helping us ensure we got the right services. Each of our kids needed different services, tools, even ways to learn. MCB really focused on their individual needs to consider what they needed to succeed.”

Mayanne MacDonald-Briggs
“As early as we can, we start talking about goals and career aspirations. It's never too early to start explorations of these things. Sometimes even back in middle school. The more we know about them, the more we can craft a plan that's right for them: pre-college tracks, more vocationally based tools, whatever we decide with the family and student is best.”

Brittany Taylor
“Literally everyone's goals are different. So everything — EVERYTHING — we do is very individualized to their goals, needs, and putting them on a path to independence. What do you enjoy? We do interest inventories to help assess their interests and what will be necessary to help them get there.”

Sara Regan
“Based on those conversations, MCB arranged experiences for them and funded them: camps, internships, visits with blind professionals, the Polus Center (career exploration). It was helpful to try things out. Certain things the kids ruled out that they thought they wanted to do. I'm not sure we would have realized what worked without these experiences.”

Brandon Rollins, MCB Client
“I took my time getting started with MCB. It was around 18 that I decided to really take advantage and explore these vocational-based services. MCB set up training at the Carroll Center, and that opened up everything for me. I started taking advantage of everything available: internships, assistive technology, using the JAWS screen reader software...suddenly I started to think that college could be a possibility.”

Mayanne MacDonald-Briggs
“Students change. What you like at 14 isn't what you like two years later. We set up a lot of site visits. Interested in law? We can send you to the Disability Law Center for a bit. Like pets? How about time at a vet's office? I sent a student interested in engineering to a summer program at Boston University, pre-college. He learned not only about engineering, but the rigor and pace of what college might be. Just ask: we can find amazing opportunities for these students. Oh, and we fund them, too.”

Brendan Foley, TVI, South East Collective
“My model is to make sure you get all the skills so you can be responsible for yourself. After you graduate, you're going to be with MCB for the rest of your life. I want to make sure you and the people around you are ready for that time, where you are independent and hopefully confident.”

Brittany Taylor
“We won't ever force services on people. But we do really want them to reach out; often they have no idea to what lengths we'll go to helping a client become fully independent, productive, and proud. We call this rehabilitating the whole individual — the whole person.”

Brendan Foley
“Every time I reach out to MCB, I get a response either that day or the next. They're really on top of every moment and targeted in what they do. I've had students really thrive using their services.”

Margaret Detch, parent of a blind student, MCB Client
“As a parent, it's really important in these years that your child begins to build awareness that it's them who will soon be responsible for making decisions for themselves. MCB can really help enable that path to college, to employment, and eventually getting ready for the workforce.”

Image credits:  Getty Images

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