Staffing shortages are creating a crisis for many organizations, and League School students are helping to address these needs. It’s a win-win for the institution and our students, including at the Old Colony YMCA’s Community Market at Stoughton. “The job at Stoughton YMCA and others like it are important to our students because they are able to apply the skills they learn at school in less familiar environments,” said Amy Faraone, Coordinator of Vocational and Career Services. “Jobs like this are a stepping stone to independent work when a student graduates from League School, or when they work part-time in their own community while still in school.”
“At one point this afternoon (one of the students) asked me what we would do if the League School students didn’t come – who would help us instead?” said Paula Hereau, Lead Volunteer for the Market and Member of the Stoughton Board of Governors for the Old Colony YMCA. “I replied that I honestly didn’t know as we don’t have a back-up team.”
Between five and ten students work at the Community Market during the month, some more often than others. The students unload a delivery truck, stack boxes, and organize food for the community’s food bank program. The two-hour shift is physical and fast-faced. “Students work collaboratively, such as handing boxes off of the truck,” said Amy. “They take instructions from their job coaches and YMCA staff. Students must discern the type of food, such as stable foods for shelving or food that needs refrigeration, and bring it to the right place.”
At the school’s vocational sites, students have real-life opportunities to practice communication skills they have learned at school. Amy points out that asking a familiar job coach for help is very different from asking a community work supervisor for help or clarification. Students must solve problems in real situations after practicing these scenarios in the school’s job club. They also apply safety and soft skills they’ve studied like punctuality, appropriate work attire and hygiene.
Current external vocational options include food service, customer service, clerical, landscaping and custodial jobs. “We appreciate all the opportunities our community partners offer,” said Amy. “In addition to our current programs, students are interested in technology-based and facilities type work. Other areas of interest include child/elder care, beautician skills, small business ownership, fashion, and animal care. If businesses have needs in these areas, we encourage them to contact us.”
“The sheer pleasure of working with the League School students and providing an experience they seem to enjoy and take pride in can’t be beat,” said Paula from the Old Colony YMCA. “Their contribution enables people to acquire food. “On behalf of everyone at the Y Community Market, thank you for the ongoing support.”