Project Power empowers adults with special needs to live freely, to move with abandon and to broaden their horizons.
The Anoka-Hennepin Community Education program helps its students move toward independence, gain confidence, make friends and try new things along the way.
“I feel very blessed to be working with them,” said Jenny Johnson, Project Power instructor. “As much as I teach them and as much joy as I get, they give me more.”
The joy Project Power students experience was freely demonstrated Oct. 21 when 20 students thrilled Northtown Mall shoppers when they broke into a choreographed flash mob dance routine near the Best Buy store.
Dressed as zombies and moving to a spooky beat, the students danced to the classic Michael Jackson hit, “Thriller.”
“They worked really hard on that routine. They came up with their own costumes and did their own make-up. They did such a good job and everyone had a great time,” Johnson said.
In fact, Johnson’s Project Power students practiced the routine for three weeks, meeting on consecutive Friday evenings in Coon Rapids Middle School’s media center.
Classes meet at the middle school, the Sandburg Education building and other Anoka-Hennepin school buildings, depending on the need.
In addition to flash mob dancing, some of the classes offered during the current fall season include autumn canvas painting, cupcake creations and home fitness.
Accomplishing simple household chores is also among the lessons learned with Project Power.
“We try to teach (our students) what they need to be able to do to get by and live independently,” Johnson said.
Some Project Power students live in group homes, some in foster homes, some live with family and some live independently, she said.
There are also field trips listed in the Project Power class catalog, including trips to the Minnesota History Center, an afternoon at the movies or bowling alley, time spent packing meals at Feed My Starving Children and more.
“They are such a joy to work with and they get to do so much, meet so many new people and do things they’ve never done before,” Johnson said.
Cost for classes range from $9 to $40.
To learn more about Project Power and to view the latest class catalog visit www.DiscoverCommunityEd.com, click on “adult” and choose “Project Power.”
To contact Project Power directly, call 763-506-1279 or email PeopleWithDisabilities@DiscoverCommunityEd.com.
Sue Austreng is at