SKILLS Group of Charlotte is a non-profit organization created in 2007 in order to further educate teens and young adults with special needs. We facilitate activities and life skill experiences in a manner that builds confidence within our students, allowing them to interact with their communities in more fulfilling ways.



Academic Adventures

emphasizes reading through studying a variety of topics including music, technology, current events, literature, geography and math. We also provide opportunities to showcase our new skills through annual theater productions, musical performances and public speaking events

Healthy Choice

sessions aim to build and reinforce positive lifestyle habits by providing education through experience in gardening, cooking and personal fitness. Students benefit from the guidance of a professional chef and personal trainer

Fine Arts

lessons allow students to deepen their understanding of famous artists and composers, realizing how they contribute to our world today. Students also have the opportunity to develop their own artistic abilities by practicing musical instruments and creating original artwork


Sessions are held at Hope Community Church

4418 Rea Road

Charlotte, NC 28226


     Academic Adventures sessions take place every Wednesday from 2:30 to 6:00pm.  Certified teachers work with our students in both large and small-group settings in order to create an environment in which group members are motivated to learn, and can enjoy being around their peers.  Sessions typically have a desirable 1:6 Teacher-Student ratio (or lower) which allows us to ensure every student is getting the first-hand instruction which helps them learn most efficiently. Our lessons aim to fortify the academic capacity of our students by covering a wide range of topics including Math and Reading in order to better equip our students to carry out their daily activities independently, as well as help them reach their future academic goals.  These sessions are tentatively reserved for students aged 16 years and up. 

          We have recently incorporated technology into our curriculum to teach our students how technology can be useful in our daily lives.  This class is specifically designed to expand our students' technological abilities in order to help them communicate with others, stay organized and engage in productive activities.

     Each year culminates with a production in which students are able to showcase their abilities.  Displaying the skills that they have worked hard to develop throughout the year is an important factor in our students' academic careers.  Our first two productions, "Twelve Angry Pigs" and "Cornfield of Dreams" were big hits with our families and friends!  Stay tuned for more information about our next play.

Get in touch find out more about our Academic Adventures.



SKILLS offers three separate cooking programs: Healthy Choices, Intensive Cooking and Extra Special SKILLS Catering.     

Healthy Choices

The Healthy Choices program is run by Chef Mara Norris and Robin Gill on Tuesdays from 2:30pm to 6pm. The program teaches our students how to grow fresh produce, exercise regularly and prepare healthy foods. The program aims to instill lifelong habits which enable our students to live confidently and contribute more to the communities they are a part of. 

    Chef Norris also selects healthy ingredients for our weekly sessions in order to create delicious and easy-to-make foods that our students can re-create at home. Showing our students how every step involved in the production of good-tasting food that is beneficial for their well-being is important to helping students break bad habits of always eating the easy, unhealthy options available to them.

Gardening lessons are taught by Robin Gill, who manages a certified wildlife habitat in her own backyard.  Students receive hands-on guidance in the construction and maintenance of the SKILLS Garden, located in front of Hope Community Church. Mrs Gill teaches the students how to grow vegetables organically while also providing knowledge of beneficial insects and the flowers needed to attract them.

Intensive Cooking

     Intensive cooking is led by Chef John Thompson (Mondays) and Chef Mara Norris (Tuesdays). In addition to cooking, students are given hands-on experience setting up, catering and serving food at dinners held the 2nd Thursday of each month for other adults with special needs. This class is limited to 8 students.

Chef Jamie Suddoth runs our Sweet Monday sessions, offering education to students on ways to eat healthy, tasty foods. The pastries and baked goods produced from our Monday sessions are enjoyed by friends and family, and make for great prizes throughout the year and refreshments at the end of year production. Each class is finished with a Zumba session led by instructor Jessica Weill.




     Our Fine Arts program is designed to increase awareness of different forms of art as well as study famous artists and the work they have done.  Our instructional group sessions allow students to experience the benefits of creating music collaboratively.

     Sessions are led by musical instructor Bill Keaton. Students may choose to play the drums, piano, guitar or even take vocal lessons.  Our music lessons provide creative avenues of communication which assist our students in their expression of ideas and opinions.

     The SKILLS Chorus, open to any student enrolled in a session, has performed at numerous events including private concerts for the Brookdale Living Community of South Charlotte and our own theater productions.