Vocational - Off SiteTuesdays & Thursdays
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Each week several vocational students and a job coach ride the MetroLift to Immanuel Lutheran Church in the Heights where they sort and restock the materials in each pew. They also clean the pews and the choir loft.
The students did a great job of cleaning the pews and setting up for Sunday church service. See how dirty their cloths are! They also helped to clean up the grounds around the church by picking up fallen pecans. Once they returned, Ms. Trevino showed them how to crack open the shell and eat the nuts found inside. What a treat!
Bingle Road Stables
I had the honor of meeting the Friedman family when my daughter and Noah, the youngest Friedman, were in school together. Gwendolyn shared stacks of photographs of the people she loved with me, including many DSA students. She told me about her friends in a way that made me want to meet them all.
When I visited the school I was pleased with everything that I saw; I was charmed by the people whom I met, and I immediately started thinking of ways that I could share my own favorite experiences with students.
My three favorite activities are talking with people, gardening, and taking care of animals. As God would have it, there is a ranch nearby where I enjoy doing all three! The ranch is run by the Cobb family: Larry, Debbie, and their son Stephen. With Rosa Rocha’s guidance and the help of DSA staff and volunteers, I want to help them share their ranch with the students.
The ranch is called Bingle Road Stables, and the manager, Stephen Cobb, is a cowboy, a talented musician, a skilled teacher, and the Orchestra Director for the school where I met the Friedmans. His mother, Debbie Cobbis a retired teacher with experience educating and guiding some friends challenged by Down Syndrome, and his father, Larry Cobb, is a pastor at a local church and has experience with people of all ages and abilities. As a family, the Cobbs are generous, loving, hardworking, and dedicated to living a good life together. Both Larry and Debbie are Stephen’s “helpers”.
The Cobbs invited the students on a field trip to Bingle Road Stables, and share our hope that the ranch will become the setting for regular vocational training for the students. The land is home to cows, horses, donkeys, ponies, chickens, rabbits, and miniature horses. The Cobbs lease spaces to the owners of the animals, and there is an enormous amount of physical labor that must be done there each day. The work is very calming and rewarding, and the experiences will be enjoyable and educational for the students.
I want to share that enjoyment by making myself available as a job coach to help the students learn how to clean and repair stalls, then plant a garden and build a vegetable stand where they can sell organic food to people as they drive down Bingle Road. I was blessed enough to be in the right place at the right time to connect the Cobb family and FODS, but I am certain that the talented students will soon own this project and find new skills that they did not know they possessed!
Each week they get more and more comfortable. They were amazing! They all pushed themselves further than ever before. Each one of them did at least one solo trip with the wheelbarrow. After Imelda’s trip, she put down the wheelbarrow and danced! Cory worked the whole time because he is getting more comfortable with the heat. Coby thought that he was incapable of making a barrow run, then he did one with me and one more alone!! Gwen worked the entire time, too. David worked very hard the whole time like he always does.Christine Peters
Santa Mobile Deliveries
Ms. Trevino and Ms. Boyd loaded up the “Santa Mobile” and delivered new bicycles, clothing, and stuffed animals to the Depelchin Children’s Center, who focus on adoptive and foster services. Several of our students who had the opportunity to go on this outing don’t usually get to go, since it was on a Wednesday (academic day) and they are not part of our Vocational Program on Tuesdays and Thursdays.