Cookies and Carols bring DCIU Students together with Seniors in Media
Surrey teams with the DCIU to provide work skills and community connections to students
Students from the OPTIONS and the Community Living and Learning programs operated by the Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU) prepare for adult life by learning daily living tasks such as cooking and household budgeting as well as skills that will assist them in being a successful employee such as work manners and customer service. “I wanted the students to give back to the community while they learned these life skills,” said Mary Cepis, Site Coordinator for the DCIU OPTIONS program. “A friend suggested I contact Surrey and I’m thrilled I did.”
Mary contacted Kathy Henderson, Director of Surrey Services in Media. “Part of the Surrey mission is to help older adults remain engaged members of the community,” said Kathy. “Partnering with the DCIU and their students helps our members stay active and engaged.”
Surrey helps the OPTIONS program students learn employability lessons, by having them pack meals for homebound seniors and perform a cleaning jobs at the center. “Older adults are patient and help the students learn valuable work stills from following work directions to proper food handling,” said Kathy Henderson.
The DCIU’s Community Living and Learning program is based in apartments where students receive hands-on, real-life experience training in the community. Participants develop independent living skills by improving their social skills, problem solving and decision making techniques, and by learning to make use of available community resources.
One key Life skill is cooking, so the students baked and delivered cookies to the older adults. “Our goal is that the students can become independent adults,” said Mary. “We are thankful to Surrey for welcoming our students in the Media center so they can give back and learn key life skills at the same time.” Sharing the delicious holiday treats with the center members also improves the students social and decision making skills.
The students shared the baked holiday treats and sang carols for the Surrey Senior Center members. “Interacting with the students brightens our members’ day,” said Kathy. “We look forward to working with them the rest of the school year.”