Launch: A Gap Year Program for Teens Building Life Skills After High School

In 2015, Vanguard Preparatory School initiated the Launch Transition Program, designed to aid families and students in successfully navigating the challenges of life after high school in the Dallas-Fort Worth community. Launch equips participants with essential life skills including securing employment, financial management, and everyday skills related to transportation, shopping, cooking, and household maintenance.

Launch doesn’t stop at imparting life skills! It also offers therapeutic support to help participants develop self-determination and foster healthy relationships. It also strives to remove barriers to employment by providing assistance with job placement and, in collaboration with Texas Workforce Solutions, offers supported employment services that include guidance in identifying state and federal employment programs students may be eligible for.



While classroom settings and vocational training programs play a valuable role in education, nothing substitutes for real-world experience when it comes to integrating skills and behaviors into everyday life. In collaboration with the parent of a Vanguard alumnus who now resides within a 10-minute proximity to the school, Vanguard introduced LAUNCHPad. This innovative program provides students with the opportunity to put their life and social skills into practice in a home in a Dallas neighborhood.

Launch participants have benefited from this post-high school program, due to its tailored learning approach, active family involvement, and education in the following key areas:

  • Exploring the “You” in work to discover interest and aptitudes
  • interviewing and communicating
  • College and trade school preparation
  • Independent living instruction
  • Authentic volunteer and community work experiences
  • Collaborative family and peer networks
  • Continuing job support follow-up 

The Vanguard Launch Transition Program is open not only to former Vanguard students but also to high school graduates within the larger community.

Launch program students and staff volunteer in cleanup effort after tornado damage in North Dallas.