Learning new skills through Flower Friends
On Monday mornings, students in the Next Step Transition Program at Crook County High School are busily creating flower arrangements.
On Tuesday mornings, they can be seen delivering the arrangements to various departments in the school district.
These students are part of a transition program that is under the careful guidance of Kim McBride, education resource program instructor. The students' business, "Flower Friends," is a partnership between McBride's Next Step Program and the Crook County Youth Transition Program (YTP).
Each Monday morning, McBride's students in her Next Step Transition Program create flower arrangements with guidance from McBride and Education Assistant II Toni Harvey, as well as the YTP specialists, using flowers that Wagner's Market Fresh IGA, Ericksons Thriftway, and The Posie Shoppe have donated.
The following morning, the students deliver the bouquets to district employees who have placed an order. Harvey assists the students with most of the deliveries.
"My program is for students who have graduated with a modified diploma, and they can go from 18 to 21 if they choose to," clarified McBride.
She indicated that they focus on vocational skills, as well as money management and reading skills. The students do a lot of volunteer work as they begin to do career exploration. She indicated that they also work closely with the Youth Transition Program.
The students in McBride's program also work on independent living skills, and they learn about cooking and daily living skills such as laundry and shopping. The "Flower Friends" is a big boost to developing the vocational skills needed as they transition from high school.
Youth Transition Program Specialists Patty Bates and Stacey Koch work with a wider age range of students. Their program serves youth between 16 and 21 years of age. They also partner with Vocational Rehabilitation, University of Oregon and the Department of Education to assist students who have barriers to employment. They help them to develop work skills to empower them in their transition after high school.
Bates pointed to the rows of vases and ribbon that have been donated by community members.
"We have a ton of vases, which is huge," she said.
The response from staff and community has given them a great start for their new business "Flower Friends."
She said the two programs launched the program last week, and they had initially received 37 orders from district staff. This week, they already have 45 orders—including one request from a community member.
"It's really going to build those school-to-work skills; getting the orders, filling them, and making the flower arrangements," elaborated Bates. "They are so beautiful. They have done an extremely good job."
She added that Posie Shoppe has also taken the transition students under their tutelage to learn how to make the arrangements. Ericksons Thriftway and IGA have helped with donations.
Bates said that they have only had to buy flowers once. When they arrive at Barnes Butte Elementary, they have a student helper who gladly assists with deliveries.
"It's been good," added Koch.
She said that it was a lot of fun being part of the flower deliveries with the students.
"The teachers are so receptive to it," she exclaimed.
As the students delivered the flowers, Koch noted that there was a great dynamic between the transition students and staff.
"It was fun — it was really fun to see that piece of it, because we hadn't really seen that delivery piece," Koch added.
Bates stated that their program is also adding a monthly parenting night on the third Wednesday of every month. They will be offering topics for parents such as Social Security for students who have disabilities, guardianship, ABLE accounts, and other topics that are relevant to families of students with disabilities.
Funds from Flower Friends will go back into the Next Step Transition program to help fund projects, independent living skills, field trips, and curriculum.
For information on the Next Step Transition Program, contact Kim McBride at 541-416-6900 ex. 3171
For Youth Transition Specialists Patty Bates or Stacey Koch, call 541-416-6900 ex. 3186.
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