Perform at Your Best with Yes I Can
Since its inception in 2009, Yes I Can (YIC) Unity Through Music & Education has been opening doors for its students by providing training and services in the areas of self-advocacy, transition education, vocational and employment training, work-based social skills, and self-care to achieve greater independence and integration in the community. Executive Director Bret Lieberman has overseen this non-profit organization from the beginning, nurturing it into the full-blown operation it is today. “I feel like we are just getting started on making a huge impact on the community and opening doors for our students,” he said.
YIC offers comprehensive social vocational services to students with developmental disabilities to secure Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) within the music and entertainment industries. The driving force behind this mission statement is the students themselves, who display a tenacity to break into the workforce and perform at their best.
The non-profit was created after Bret attended a huge music conference in Texas called SXSW, in which he shared a vision along with several others in the music industry, to help students on the autism spectrum through music and education. Inspired by the lights and sounds of concert production, Bret used YIC as a catalyst for producing the Summer Meltdown Art & Music Festival in Santa Clarita as a cumulative project for students to practice the skills taught in the transitional program. The festival is an opportunity to work alongside professionals in the field such as promoters, bands, and artists and gain insightful experience for furthering a career in music and recording. The summer program will hold 10-15 students in the classes as the main production crew behind the next meltdown event in 2019.
Those involved in the transitional program receive a functional vocational assessment, individual habilitation service plan, and training provided by credentialed educators. The program teaches skills about life after high school, how to find a first job, career exploration, maintaining professionalism in the workplace, goal setting, communication techniques, team work and collaboration. Throughout the year there will be guest speakers from the music industry that share their stories and life lessons, while the students diligently work on different projects to prepare them with the skills they need in order to be successful. “The most rewarding aspect is seeing our students working in the industry, feeling comfortable, and watching them use the skills they learned within the program,” Bret said.
YIC currently has partnerships with GRAMMY Museum Foundation, Golden Boy Promotions, Dash Radio, Sony Music, Warner Bros, Goldenvoice, Greenlight Media and Marketing, California Roots Presents, TMZ, California Artists Agency, and Moore Media to increase the impact of their work within the community. With these connections, YIC continues to pursue the program’s goal to see students excel not only vocationally, but in their daily lives.
For more information go to the website at www.yicunity.org.
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