Northbridge program offers aid for those with learning disabilities

A new service on campus at Glendale Community College this semester hopes to make college life easier for students struggling with learning disabilities.

The Northbridge College Success Program, located inside the Disability Resources and Services center in the Administration building, offers a wide variety of mentoring and tutoring services to assist with a wide range of learning differences, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism and dyslexia.

“Our goal is to always make the student successful. To make sure that they achieve success in their college endeavors, in their social endeavors, and in their future planning,” Cherish Johnson, the Northbridge site lead for Glendale Community College, said.

The program, normally available only through paid enrollment packages, is currently being offered on free scholarships to 12 GCC students thanks to a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation.

Northbridge leadership hopes that as current students’ progress through the programs services that grant funds can be further budgeted to accommodate more students free of charge.

“We’re in discussions to hopefully increase to 24 students. Next year, our hope is that we will continue to work with the 12 students we’re working with this year. We will work with them next year, as well as welcome a new 12,” Jason Moore, the executive director of the Northbridge program, said. 

Moore hopes that as students progress through the mentoring and become savvier college students, that they will need less individual attention, hoping to use the extra time to extend the grant’s benefits.

Although new to the campus this semester, the Northbridge program has been offering their services to students at Scottsdale Community College since 2011, from their off-campus main office.

Northbridge will also expand to services to the students of Paradise Valley Community College at the start of the Spring 2016. Their plans for expansion only continue from there.

“We’d like to provide services on all 11 Maricopa Community College campuses. We hope this (GCC) pilot is just a starting point in that. We wouldn’t limit ourselves to only community colleges, either. Right now, we’d like to be the program of choice for students with learning differences in Maricopa County,” Moore said.

The response from students receiving Northbridge’s mentoring services has been positive. Salena Orahood, a student in her first semester of college finds the level of support she receives from the program to be incredibly valuable.

“I think the best thing (future students) can do is spend the whole session in here. To get as much homework as they can done and to take advantage of the hours and get ahead,” Orahood said.

“The goals are dependent upon each individual student, and each student is exactly that, an individual,” said Johnson. “They come with different background knowledge, different baggage, if you will, related to their disabilities. Our specific goals are very student oriented,” she said.

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