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Project LIFE helps special needs students at RHS secure jobs

Sydney Peveler, Clubs and Organization Editor

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Project LIFE is a special program for special education students at RHS to help them learn the skills needed in order to get a job once they go off into the world. Project LIFE works with special education students that are age eighteen and up who have met all their graduation requirements, but are still a part of the RHS community.

“The purpose of our program is to prepare Project LIFE (PL) team members for competitive employment and independent living,” Andrew Molck, the teacher for the program explains.

The students in Project LIFE volunteer at the Yia Yia’s House of Gyros on Tuesdays from 10am to noon. The partnersthip started when the owner of the restaurant, Bill Kaprantzas, came up to the group at Walmart, where they had been learning various life skills as part of their education, to discuss the possibility of having the group come and learn employment skills.

“PL team members assist full time staff with preparing the restaurant for the day. This includes: cleaning windows inside and outside, wiping and disinfecting tables and chairs, brewing coffee, cooking Loukoumades (a sweet and delicious puffy dessert), seating customers, taking orders and clearing tables,” Molck clarified when asked what the students help with.

Working at Yia Yia’s House of Gyros allows the Project LIFE team to learn specific employability skills, such as “how to wait on tables, bus tables, cooking, cash register, and cleaning,” as stated by Melodi Nix, a staff member that works with the group. They also learn social skills which often improve their employment opportunities and possibilities.

“The Project LIFE team also volunteers at Buffalo Wild Wings, TJ Maxx, Burke’s Outlet and Jones Elementary school to gain a variety of work related skills,” expresses Molck. The program is in its third year of helping students develop the useful skills.

Overall, Program LIFE offers a partnership between the special education kids at Rockwall High School and the surrounding community which promotes the independence and employability of these deserving young men and women.

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