JCFS Chicago Knapp School and Park Plaza have embarked upon a new opportunity in which students of the School’s Transitional and Career Services program are volunteering in Park Plaza’s kitchen and dining room, prepping food, serving drinks, busing tables, and performing many other tasks.
Prior to their high school graduation, students with disabilities receive workforce training through our Transitional and Career Services program. Employment and career preparation, post-secondary education, daily living skills, community participation and adult services are some of the essential services provided to students.
Student volunteer Ania, who hopes to become a nurse after she completes the program, is enthusiastic for this opportunity at Park Plaza. “It was awesome serving the residents at lunch time,” she said. “The residents were also very happy for us to be there volunteering; they were extremely kind and welcoming to us.”
Kelvin Warner and Henny Harper oversee the students during their work at Park Plaza. Kelvin, a job coach for 11 years, is excited about the valuable life and job skills his students will gain from this experience. Henny Harper has been working as a job coach for five years and is equally excited about this opportunity for her students. “The residents and students have a nice way of interacting with one another. I think it’s valuable for our students to have that experience of communicating with people from different generations.”
“Park Plaza is excited to have three wonderful young adults volunteering in our kitchen and dining room,” said Adina Semel, Residential Director at Park Plaza. “Thank you to JCFS Chicago and Carrie Patterson [Work Development and Employment Specialist at Knapp School] for approaching us with this wonderful idea. We are looking forward to continued success.”
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