Skip to main content

Today's Family Magazine

Broadmoor School program teaches vocational skills for life after high school

Aug 29, 2016 09:42AM ● By Today's Family

L-R: Nick Risko, Melissa Welch, fellow LEEP member Megan Beemiller and a co-worker at a job site.

By Laura Lytle

The Lake Employment Experience Program (LEEP) at Broadmoor School is a vital component of the transition plan in each students’ individual education plan (IEP) created by the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Deepwood.  Each IEP at Broadmoor is coordinated with the student’s home school district to include vocational, daily living and travel skills needed for success beyond high school.

For Nick Risko and Melissa Welch, LEEP has opened new doors to their futures from the experience and skills they have gained through vocational training and in their academic curriculum.  Transferring from Madison School District, both Nick and Melissa are part of the undefeated Broadmoor Bobcats basketball team and participate in LEEP.  On the basketball court they have honed their skills and demonstrate good teamwork and leadership skills––valuable skills that have carried over into their employment opportunities. 

LEEP job trainer, Laura Kuenzig, works with each student to identify skills and interests for potential careers.  After meeting with the students she turns her efforts to the community to develop team and individual job sites for the LEEP program.  Many job opportunities exist where individuals can assist with general cleaning, retail work such as sorting and hanging clothes or placing items on sales floor, manufacturing/assembly, as well as stable care for farm animals and horticulture projects which include collecting and sorting seeds.

Kuenzig recruited Goodwill in Painesville as a competitive employment opportunity for Nick, and Layton Physical Therapy in Madison for Melissa.  After they were hired, the job trainer taught each student the necessary skills for success on the job.  These skills include the actual tasks, getting along with coworkers, accepting criticism, clocking in and out, transportation, appropriate break time activities and what to wear to work to name a few. 

Nick saved $1,000 this summer from his job and looks forward to learning new skills this school year. He is a fan favorite on the Broadmoor Bobcats with his steals and breakaway layups.

Melissa enjoyed working with people at her job but is happy to see her friends at school.  Melissa is a high scorer for the Bobcats and strong line of defense for the team.

Nick and Melissa are also a part of LEEP Artworks, a micro business started with the help of a volunteer. Students collect crayons, then use hair dryers and heat guns to melt them on canvases to create beautiful pieces of art.  Canvases are photographed and turned into greeting cards.  Both the canvases and cards are sold to raise money for supplies for the LEEP programs.  The art will be sold at the Great Lakes Mall on September 24 during Hearts and Hands Community Day.  You can contact Broadmoor anytime to purchase cards or canvases.
Nick, Melissa, Zack Watren, Elfie Roman, and Abby Reed with artwork donated to the golf outing last year. Zack and Abby Reed are LEEP students and Broadmoor Bobcat team members.
LEEP students not only gain work-life skills, but also build their self-esteem, a sense of accomplishment and become valuable contributors in our community.

LEEP is always looking for opportunities for students to learn new vocational skills and practice the skills they have.  If you have a job opportunity or want more information contact Broadmoor at 440-602-1000.

Broadmoor School is a part of the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Deepwood serving students in Lake County from birth through age of 22 years.  The school offers early intervention in partnership with Crossroads, an integrated preschool, primary classes, sensory class and the LEEP program.  Broadmoor School was built in 1965 as the first building of what is now known as the Lake County Board of DD/Deepwood.

For more information on vocational or habilitation services available through the Lake County Board of DD/Deepwood call 440-350-5100 or visit