We are excited to share the results of our recent kitchen renovation at our Annex school thanks to a $5,000 grant from Dime Bank. The life skills kitchen is used directly by participants and staff at our Learning Campus to practice daily, independent life skills such as food storage, healthy meal preparation, and functional academics. These lessons are designed by our staff to promote healthy habits, independence, and responsibility. Experiences in the kitchen prepare students for future volunteer and vocational opportunities in the community.
Our Learning Campus services a large portion of individuals who are developmentally disabled and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Over the next 10 years, 500,000 people identified with ASD will be graduating and entering adulthood. With diagnosis rates climbing, there is more of a need than ever before to provide life skills. The majority of our lessons revolve around preparing our students to live as independently as they possibly can. Once students graduate or leave our program, there are little community supports for them to utilize and they usually have to rely on family members or limited funding from DDS to support them. Learning these life skills is paramount to help our students on their path to adulthood.
Our previous kitchen was not equipped for our students, making it difficult for our teachers and paraprofessionals to reinforce life skills concepts. Due to the high level of wear and tear that it receives every single day, it was in desperate need of a renovation. Thanks to the funds from Dime Bank, we were able to purchase a new refrigerator, replace worn out cabinets and countertops, and install a new sink, faucet, dishwasher, and stovetop range.
This project has created a space that is safe, updated, and allows students to feel excited to spend their days. Thank you to Dime Bank for helping us send a message that those with disabilities deserve a space where they can learn and grow.