Reflecting our tagline “Life is a journey. Be prepared for the trip”, our program’s goal is for Destination Dawgs graduates to have gained new knowledge, skills, and competencies which lead to a rewarding adult life. This includes attaining a desired job, having an increased ability to live independently, and building relationships that expand their social networks.
WHO: Students with intellectual disabilities between the ages of 18 -25 who have a personal desire - and support from family- to gain skills for self-determination, independent living, and career development at the University of Georgia.
WHAT: Completion of the program will result in a UGA Certificate in College and Career Readiness from the UGA Center on Continuing Education bearing +/- 150 continuing education units. Student competency and accomplishments will be recorded in an electronic portfolio.
WHEN: Five (15 week) semesters starting in the Spring (January) semester following a prerequisite Summer Leadership Institute for invited applicants. Semesters follow the UGA academic calendar.
HOW: The Destination Dawgs team will utilize the Students Transitioning to Adult Roles (STAR) Person-Centered Planning (PCP) model to facilitate goal setting and to track progress across five domains: Career Development and Employment, Academic Enrichment, Campus & Community Engagement, Independent Living, and Self-Determination. Each semester students will engage in four program domains:
The Destination Dawgs program meets national best practices for high quality, fully inclusive, competency based postsecondary transition programs for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Destination Dawgs support fund provides vital financial support to our program and our students. Your support is very much appreciated!
Destination Dawgs has received our certification from the Department of Education as a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) for youth with IDD. This status will allow our students to access federal financial aid.
UGA Office of Institutional Diversity newsletter - Fall 2017
Our story in Making a Difference - Summer 2017
Destination Dawgs participant to be on Times Square billboard - August 29, 2017
The application period for our 2020 cohort (to begin in January 2020) is now open through May 15th, 2019. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. We will hold our Spring Information session on Friday, March 8th.
The application listed on this website is for students who wish to apply to the 2020 cohort.
(Tuition and fees model the current UGA structure for the applicable term and are subject to change.)
Tuition and fees for course attendance are the same as those for students registered for credit and are based on a 9-month academic year (spring/fall) for an average undergraduate student.
Meal plans are optional.
Costs do not include books, materials, or other course required expenses.
Students who drive may wish to secure a parking permit for an additional fee. Destination Dawgs does not provide or coordinate transportation.
On-campus Housing for Destination Dawgs students is not available at this time due to capacity needs. Near to campus apartments are available, and program staff can assist families in identifying private housing options and support providing organization if desired.
Justin graduated with honors from East Jackson Comprehensive High School where he ran track. He wants to help people with disabilities as a recreation or physical therapist. He is a certified volunteer with Jackson County Special Olympics and serves on the Jackson County Federal Stakeholders Committee as a county member representative. He likes playing games, especially connect four, meeting new people and making new friends. In his spare time he plays guitar and practices piano. He describes himself as dependable, considerate, and willing to work hard.
Chris is a graduate of North Oconee High School where he swam, was a basketball and football cheerleader, a football mascot, and was awarded the senior superlative “Most School Spirit” by the NOSHS student body. He wants to work in a public setting, like a library, where he can be social and get to know people. He loves to draw and paint, listen to music, and to spend time with friends. He loves to eat out. Chris says he wants to go to UGA like his sister and buddies. He likes to learn and likes school and homework.
Jordan is a recent graduate of Lambert High School where he was on the homecoming court, and a model in the DECA prom fashion show. He was the manager of the boys’ basketball team and a member of Young Life, Drama Club and Special Olympics. He wants to work in sports marketing or in a retail store. He plays flag football and basketball, likes to go to the gym, to go to movies, eat out, and hang out with friends watching sports and listening to music. Jordan says he has dreamed of going to UGA since middle school and loves school and being busy. He also loves to act and sing.
Katie is a graduate of North Oconee High School where she was a member of the Hero Club, and was student of the year. She would like to work with animals and to take classes that would prepare her for a job in the veterinary field. She has a pet hamster and enjoys spending time on the phone and playing games. Katie describes herself as a very kind, sweet, intelligent, friendly and social person.
Britta is a graduate of Braselton Christian Academy where she was in chorus and on the yearbook staff. She would like to work with children, animals, or to be a teacher. In her spare time she likes to play basketball, run and hike, to hang out with her friends, dance, and play with her cat. She enjoys American History. She wants to come to UGA to learn more, to get a good job, to get married (someday), to meet new people, make new friends, and to cheer for the Dawgs at football games.
Abby is a recent graduate of Loganville High School where she was involved with Partners for Success, cheerleading, and Special Olympics teams. She was also chosen for the Spirit of Special Olympics Award in April 2017. Abby loves working with children, and hopes to work in a school or childcare setting in the future. She enjoys music and art, using social media, playing with her dogs, and hanging out with her friends. Abby is excited to be attending UGA like her sisters. She also describes herself as a huge football fan, and she enjoys going to UGA football games.
Malerie is a graduate of Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia where she was involved with cheerleading and Special Olympics. Malerie hopes to either work with her parents in their real estate business, or open up her own cleaning business in the future. Malerie is glad to be attending UGA like her mother. She enjoys cheerleading, listening to music, going shopping, talking to people on her cell phone, and hanging out at her lake house.
Jamie is from Berkley Lake, Georgia where he graduated from Veritas Classical Schools in 2015. He is passionate about music and loves to sing and play guitar in his free time. Jamie is studying both religion and music at the University of Georgia in hopes of becoming a worship leader after graduation. He loves staying busy with the various activities on campus, hanging out with friends, and attending Wesley services and events. He said that he loves the independence UGA has brought him and is extremely excited to live with friends close to campus in Fall 2019!
Marina graduated with honors from Johns Creek High School where she was a member of the Spanish Club, French Club, DECA Club and was on homecoming court. She is bilingual in Spanish & English and loves learning about new languages and cultures. Marina was very excited to follow in her older brother’s footsteps and become a student at the University of Georgia. She is studying marketing and child development and hopes to work at an office or teaching at elementary school. In her free time, Marina enjoys writing songs, dancing, playing guitar, exploring campus and downtown Athens.
Austin is from Bogart, Georgia where he was homeschooled prior to attending the University of Georgia. One day he hopes to use his artistic talents to become an action figure designer or voice actor. On campus you can typically find Austin at Tate hanging out with his friends, in the arcade, or the makers space. He enjoys learning and was excited to become a student in the Destination Dawgs program so that he could take interesting classes, get job experience, and meet a lot of new friends. He describes himself as creative, smart, and friendly!
Lele is a graduate of North Atlanta High School. While in high school, she was a member of an inclusive dance team as well as worked at a local bakery. Lele has always loved cheering on the Dawgs and was excited when her dream of going to the University of Georgia with her twin sister became a reality! Since coming to the UGA, Lele has enjoyed being involved with Extra Special People, hanging out with her friends, and going to country music concerts. One day, Lele hopes to open her own bakery so that others can enjoy her baking as much as she does!
Anna Lawrence is a native Georgian and a graduate of the University of Georgia (COE '10). Along with 3 years experience as a researcher for The National Treatment Center Study (Owens Institute for Behavioral Research), Anna studied Special Education and has honed her programming skills as the Coordinator of Administration and Family Support at Extra Special People, Inc. She is overjoyed to combine her UGA pride and passion for inclusion to welcome a new kind of Bulldog to campus. Go (Destination) Dawgs!
Lisa Ulmer joins Destination Dawgs team as the Academic Instructor through a partnership with Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. Lisa earned her PhD from UGA in Special Education in 2008 and received her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Florida State University. Lisa has worked in special education for the past thirteen years and has taught students with intellectual disabilities in a community based vocational setting as well as in an inclusive classroom setting. She most recently served as a Department Head for Special Education in Oconee County. She is a member of the NEGATT RESA Transition Consortia and the GA Council for Exceptional Children among others.
Carol Britton Laws is an Assistant Clinical Professor in Disability Studies at the Institute on Human Development and Disability / UCEDD at the College of Family and Consumer Sciences where she instructs in, and coordinates, UGA’s Disability Studies Certificate program. She is the Director of the Destination Dawgs program and has worked in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 15 years. Carol earned her PhD from UGA in Social Work in 2012. She received her Master’s degree in nonprofit and public administration from Rutgers School of Social work and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers College. She is a Fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and serves on multiple university, state, and national committees.
Lori Tiller is a public service faculty member at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a unit of the Office of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia, with a focus on leadership development for underrepresented populations. Lori co-directed the feasibility study that led to the creation and implementation of the Destination Dawgs Inclusive Post-Secondary Program at UGA and coordinates the Destination Dawgs Summer Leadership Institute. Lori earned her master’s degree in nonprofit management from the University of Georgia’s Nonprofit Institute in 2007 and her bachelor’s degree in music education from UGA in 2001. She is a current part-time Ph.D. student at the Institute of Higher Education at UGA.
Brittany is the Independent Living Coordinator with Destination Dawgs. Brittany has a lifetime of experience with Developmental Disabilities. Her little sister was born with Down Syndrome, and Brittany has been an advocate for disability rights ever since. She is a 2017 University of Georgia graduate, having earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology and a certificate in Disability Studies. During her stay at the University of Georgia, she was a mentor in the Destination Dawgs program where she actively planned events to promote inclusion on campus and to ensure that the students of Destination Dawgs felt that they could call UGA and Athens their home. She also worked as a Direct Support Professional where she encouraged the individuals she served to push beyond limitations to reach their goals.
A Destination Dawgs peer mentor will be a currently enrolled University of Georgia student who volunteers and agrees to appropriately support the Destination Dawg student(s) with whom they are matched with in one or more of these three areas:
Approximately 3 hours of peer mentorship per week over the course of the semester, mandatory pre-service training, completion of feedback forms, voluntary participation in research, ongoing meetings, and participation in relevant workshops when possible.
3 course credit hours may be earned each semester by peer mentors enrolled in IHDD 2050S: Principles of Person-Centered Practices (pre-req: IHDD 2001). Course content is on eLC and this course will count toward a UGA Certificate in Disability Studies. See the syllabus for more information on this service-learning course.
The experience of a peer mentor is varied! Below are examples of how a qualified peer mentor might interact with a Destination Dawgs student:
Peer Mentor applications are currently being accepted for Fall 2019. Mandatory peer mentor training will be held on Tuesday, August 13th. Contact Anna Lawrence at DestinationDawgs@uga.edu with questions about peer mentoring or how to get involved with Destination Dawgs.