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We are increasingly reminded of the challenge our campers face when transitioning from school age to young adult. While their peers are moving onto college, their options are often very limited.

So we brainstormed what was needed to equip a young adult with special needs to move into a more independent lifestyle, to have choices for their future. From those thoughts came the idea for Barnabas Prep. This academic-year program allows students to grow in community living skills, independent living skills and choose a vocational training track.

Housed in our Branson campus in southwest Missouri, students spend time in class and assuming responsibility for all elements of living. In the beginning, it's the a toilet, preparing breakfast, setting the table, washing clothes. Added to this is learning to live in close proximity and relationship with others, spending time problem-solving and learning good people skills.

As they advance, more specific training is given in public speaking and interactive skills before they progress to their career track choice and the associated classroom and on-the-job training.

Student qualifications

Barnabas Prep is intended for students who have a desire to learn and grow as they develop skills for not only the home but also the workplace. We look for students who want to empower themselves and engage the social world. Students may enter Barnabas Prep with minimal independent living skills but the program is not designed for a one-on-one ratio. If a young adult requires constant, around-the-clock care, Barnabas Prep may not be a good fit.

For questions about Barnabas Prep, email Prep Director George White at or call him at 417.737.7134.