RCC Project ELEVATE and Dignity Works Here, Inc. are Partnering for “Adult Transition”

Dignity Works Here, Inc. logo

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. (May 4, 2022) – After a successful pilot program last summer, Rockland Community College and Dignity Works Here, Inc. are partnering on Project ELEVATE, a program that provides individuals with a disability with training in life skills required for independent living.

The goal of Project ELEVATE is to offer community classes that focus on independent living skills for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Program provides hands-on, educational, and enriching activities that encourage individuals to grow and learn throughout their lives. Classes are open to individuals of all abilities.

“The program was professionally done and was led by experienced and trained special needs educators who collaborated well with the SUNY RCC Culinary program,” said Holly Borzacchiello, a parent who enrolled their student in Project ELEVATE.

Lisa Currao, founder of Project ELEVATE, discovered that there were limited options for young adults with special needs, and partnered with Rockland Community College to help fill the gap. Currao, who is a parent to a child with Autism, came up with the name Project ELEVATE, which is an acronym: Educate, Life Skills, Enrichment, Vocational Skills, Advocacy, Transition, Empowerment.

“The title says it all,” said Currao, who has a Masters in Special Education. “Project ELEVATE is a great way for participants to learn basic life skills that will help them build self-esteem and confidence while making new friends and having fun.”

The classes, co-taught by Mark Davidoff, Rockland Community College’s Director of the Hospitality & Culinary Arts Center, will focus on the elements of learning that are necessary to lead an independent life, while mastering the skills required to be successful in the kitchen. Additionally, students will learn the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, which includes healthy cooking and eating, exercise, and the ability to self-regulate emotions. “I really enjoyed the cooking activities,” said Mario Borzacchiello, a student in the Project ELEVATE program. “We had a lot of fun in the kitchen!”

Project ELEVATE is open to the community and provides access to a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, and employs highly skilled instructors to teach the classes. In addition to learning valuable life skills, the College hopes to expose the students to a college atmosphere so they are more comfortable with transitioning into additional higher education courses.


“We believe the community college campus should be for everyone, and we are always looking for ways to partner with people and organizations to offer what is needed in the community. We are proud to work with Lisa to bring this important offering to families in the region,” says Dr. Michael A. Baston, the President of Rockland Community College.

Class Schedule
May 24 – June 30, 2022
Classes will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center, 70 Main Street, Nyack, NY.

The 6-week workshop is targeted for individuals 18+ years of age. To learn more about Project ELEVATE, visit https://sunyrockland.edu/community/project-elevate/. Contact us at [email protected]

About Rockland Community College, State University of New York
Rockland Community College, State University of New York, offers a safe, supportive learning environment for thousands of students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Thanks to the school’s affordable tuition, students who begin their career journey at RCC and then transfer to a four-year college can save up to $100,000 on their education. RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through its new Career Skills Academy. More information can be found at sunyrockland.edu.

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