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L.I.F.E. Conference helps inspire students with disabilities for life after high school

(Photo Courtesy/Mike Beiermeister) Jeremy 'brotha James' Reisig speaks to students during the L.I.F.E. Conference on Thursday morning.

Alpena, Mich. — Area high school students with disabilities participated in a learning independence from experience (L.I.F.E.) Conference on Thursday morning at Alpena Community College.

It’s the first year on the Sunrise Side that the Northern Michigan Disability Network put on this event which features inspirational and informative speakers. L.I.F.E. Conferences have been occurring for the past 15 years in Michigan. Students from Alpena, Alcona, and Montmorency County attended.

The conference aims to teach skills for adapting to life after high school. Keynote speakers talked about skills like finding employment and housing, keeping good finances, and skills like building good relationships.

“All these skills will go into, hopefully, most of these students being able to get employment and be as independent as they can,” said Michael Blewett, life program coordinator for the Northern Michigan Disability Network. “Independence, as we teach, looks a little different from everybody. Everybody has different strengths, different weaknesses, so we try to highlight those strengths and teach them how to ask for help where they struggle.”

brotha James is a duo that provides inspiration entertainment and exercises to all different events and venues throughout the country. Musician Jeremy Reisig enjoys performing at events like this because he always learns a lot from an audience like the one on Thursday.

“They are highly capable, highly able, and all they they need is the support and the tools and knowledge to be able to bring their wisdom, their strengths, their talents, their unique capabilities forward,” Jeremy ‘brotha James’ Reisig. “I leave a room like today humbled.”

Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce president Jackie Krawczak also spoke today on job seeking, interviewing, and resume and cover letter building. Organizers plan to bring the L.I.F.E. conference back next year for area high school students.