Teagan’s Journey from Cover to Cover
March 17, 2022
By Emily Walker, RBT – Transition Specialist, Applied Program
As our students at Bridgeway Academy get older and are ready to expand upon their employability skills, they can participate in the Community-Based Job Training (CBJT) program to gain real world experience at a job site. Transition Specialists work to find community partners that are willing to have students at their business to complete job tasks that their employees typically do. This is on a volunteer basis, so the students are not paid, but they gain valuable experience that is not available in the classroom.
Working in the community allows teachers and staff to see how students respond to a new environment and interact with unfamiliar people. Community-Based Job Training gives many opportunities to practice soft skills, such as problem solving, social skills, and employability skills. Our community partners are valuable because they give students many opportunities to increase their skill set and gain real work experience that will aid them in future employment.
One of the businesses that is currently partnering with Bridgeway Academy in the CBJT program is a bookstore Cover to Cover, an independent bookstore in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Their mission is to inspire children to become lifelong readers, and they have been serving customers of all ages and abilities since 1980.
The store itself is colorful and organized, which helps shoppers and employees find items easily. Melia Wolf, the owner of Cover to Cover, has been actively supervising Teagan, one of our CBJT students, since October of 2021. Melia has experience mentoring students with autism, and has done a fantastic job collaborating with staff to adapt the jobs at Cover to Cover to help Teagan learn new skills.
Teagan first started stamping bags, which was a great way for her to adjust to the environment of the store. There were less people, and less distractions so she was able to stay on task. Once this skill was mastered, Melia added a new objective for Teagan – putting stickers on bags, greeting cards, and then organizing the cards by occasion, such as Birthday, New Year’s Day, or Christmas.
Now, Teagan is starting to alphabetize and organize books by author! By steadily adding skills as they become mastered, students are able to grow and not become overwhelmed by tasks that can be considered a challenge.
Bridgeway Academy values these relationships with our business partners, especially those that have a passion for our students’ growth and development.
We hope to continue expanding this program and gaining more partnerships in the future to allow more work opportunities for students. If you know of any businesses in the local community that may be a good fit for this program, please email Emily Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.