Five St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School students are gaining experience and leadership skills while providing valuable services to the home
LINDSAY, Ont. – Frost Manor and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School are continuing to build upon a partnership they established last year that’s enhancing opportunities for students to learn new skills and develop leadership while giving something back to the community.
Through the partnership, five students from the school’s co-op and special education programs have been coming to Frost Manor Tuesdays and Thursdays to assist environmental services and maintenance manager Rick Riel.
The students perform a variety of duties ranging from sorting nuts and bolts to prepping gardens to ensuring Frost Manor’s parking area is free of debris.
The students are gaining valuable work experience, and the help they provide frees up time Rick can spend helping residents.
As a testament to the program’s success, one of the students, Mack Dixon, is hoping to find a job after the school year finishes in June. He is preparing his resumé and is using Rick as a reference.
Another student, Kyler Cavan, is taking on many leadership roles, often supervising work when Rick is attending the daily morning staff meeting.
“These guys have done an amazing job this semester, and it’s just been continual growth,” Rick tells The OMNIway.
Teresa Naismith, an educational assistant at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School, says she has seen the students flourish during their time at Frost Manor, adding the students have learned new skills and become more confident.
For example, when two of the students were assigned to disinfect handrails in the hallways, they needed supervision at first. But before long, they got the hang of the task and now require no supervision when sanitizing.
“They have become very self-sufficient and they can do it themselves,” Teresa says. “There has been growth in all the students.”
Rick characterizes the partnership as a “win-win-win,” since the students, residents and staff are all benefiting. He adds the students’ progress is also a source of pride for himself.
“It’s rewarding for me to see how much they have progressed, but I think they enjoy their time coming here as well,” Rick says. “All five of these guys have done an amazing job.”
– This is Part 1 of a three-part story series
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