2020 Tools for Life Fair Report

Keynote Speaker Sarah Patterson.
Students visiting the Tools displays.
Students touring the ISU campus.
Sarah Peterson being introduced.
Photograph booth photo at the dance.
Kathy Griffin presenting.
Student attending Tools conference.

The 16th Annual Tools for Life was a success!

The 2-day event encompassed more than forty presentations and group activities to expand student knowledge related to assistive technology, self-advocacy, independent living, and college/career readiness. After attending Tools for Life, survey data showed that students had a better idea about their options after high school and were more familiar with resources to help them live, learn, and work.

Download the Tools4Life InfoGraphic PDF or an accessible version of the Report Summary PDF to see learning outcomes and attendance figures.

Conference Highlights

Kendrick Lester from the Idaho State Department of Education and Alison Lowenthal from Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation kicked off the conference with welcome addresses.

“VR & DRI have a lot more services than what meets the eye.” - Adult

Inspiring keynote speeches were given by Sheena McFeely, Meera Philips, and Sarah Patterson. Full conference information along with keynote speaker bios are available in the Conference Program PDF [PRINT VERSION] or Plain Text Conference Program PDF .

“Truly, it gave me a much needed vision of where to go from here as we will soon be leaving
the safe harbor of school and the support team we have there.” - Parent

Thirty-one students participated in the financial literacy event, Reality Town. During the activity, students made theoretical life choices and used a checkbook and/or a debit card to make purchases and balance expenses in order to come away with a better understanding of what it means to live independently.

“I learned what tools I can use to advocate for myself.” – Student

Thirty-five students went on a field trip to Idaho State University where they got a glimpse of college life and exposure to post-secondary educational options.

“I learned that vocational rehabilitation can help with getting me a job.” – Student

Students made new friends and had a great time at the dance party where they ate pizza, danced to music, and took memento photographs.

“The most important thing I learned at Tools for Life was that even though I’m different,
I need to stop limiting myself and challenge myself and push to succeed.” – Student

Thank you, sponsors!

The Fair was planned by members of the Idaho Interagency Council on Secondary Transition (IICST) as a collaborative effort to improve outcomes for students with disabilities post-high school. Conference expenses totaled approximately $53,000. In addition to this figure, countless hours were spent in the planning, preparation, and execution of the conference by many individuals who donated in-kind support. Funding was provided by the Idaho Assistive Technology Project, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Idaho State Department of Education, Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind, Center on Disabilities and Human Development, Idaho Special Education Support and Technical Assistance Program (SESTA), Idaho Parents Unlimited, Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.