THRIVE: a student’s perspective

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – Are you familiar with THRIVE? THRIVE stands for transformation, health, responsibility, independence, vocation and education.

THRIVE is a two-year program at the University of Central Missouri campus for young adults with all different kinds of disabilities. I am a THRIVE student here at University of Central Missouri, and I really enjoy it here on campus.

Karen Fahrmeier, the THRIVE coordinator, talked to me about when the program started and who is in the THRIVE program.

“THRIVE started in the spring of 2010 when there were parents who came and asked about the program because (their kids) were turned down by two universities” said Fahrmeier. “I’ve been working here since 2011. There was a different coordinator. This is the program’s eighth year and my seventh year, she said.

THRIVE has 16 first-years and 16- second years so we have 32 students total and has grown over the years.

“This program is for students who have intellectual and developmental disabilities,” she said.

Parents say students have been independent after the program.

Maggie McFarland, a second-year student said the THRIVE program grew on her and she has had a positive experience in it.

“When I was a first-year in 2016 THRIVE, I honestly did not enjoy it because I was nervous and scared of all the new people here, and I did not want to leave my friends behind, but another side of me knew it would be good for me. However, as the time went by I slowly started to enjoy my time here, and in the process, I made tons of new friends too and lots of new memories.”

McFarland said her time in THRIVE is coming to an end.

“I learned so much from this program, I know now coming here on my own was the best choice I’ve ever made in my life because the people here treat you like you’re human, not just like you’re someone with a disability. They push you to do your best every day and expect the same thing out of you as they would to any other college student.”

“I know without this program I would never developed a drive like this one. Now I’m studying for the ACT so I can enroll as a typical college student. I’m also studying for my driver’s education test.” McFarland said.

“THRIVE is one of the best programs I’ve ever been in. I will sure miss them when I’m gone,” McFarland said.

THRIVE is located on the ground floor of East Ellis and we’re always fun to hang out with. We go to classes like you guys do every day, and we do activities like go to the football games or fairs. We’re always interested in making new friends, so we try to get out and hope we meet new people.

Move-in day was the same for us as well as getting roommates and making friends with other students in the program. We eat in the dining halls, the union, or off campus. It just depends on what we’re in the mood for.

We have also met with Chuck Ambrose a couple of times and he’s a great president for the school. Make sure you come and say hi to us when you see us on campus. We would love to meet new people.

Casey Lee is a THRIVE intern reporting for the Muleskinner. THRIVE is a two-year program to help intellectually- or developmentally-challenged young adults build skills for transitioning from home to independence. 


Barbara Mayfield

Great article about THRIVE, Casey! You shared awareness that THRIVE students are like other students at UCM — anxious but eager, challenged but hard working, busy but dedicated to doing your best. Good job!

Mary Alice Lyon, Director Emerita, TRIO programs

Nice article, Casey. I can tell that THRIVE has been an important experience for you and the other THRIVE students.


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