Page 21 - Salem Magazine Spring 2015
P. 21

                                     When the folks at the Salem Animal Shelter need a little help getting things straight, they know they can always count on Salem High School students who are enrolled in the Community-Based Instruction program to lend a helping hand.
Our Schools
Gimme Shelter
Salem special needs youth contribute to their own
community.
By Mike Stevens
“We always look forward to hosting this group of young adults,” says Rebecca Custer, Salem Animal Shelter Manager. “They are eager to learn and help us do all the hard work involved in caring for the animals and many of them return with their families to adopt and become regular volunteers.”
Under the direction of Salem High School Special Education teacher Candice McNew, 10 students are participating in the class this year. Along with the workforce training, these student are also making a real difference by volunteering their time at Feeding America, the Rescue Mission, Spring Tree Nursing Home and Carilion, where they organized a toy drive and delivered gifts to kids at Roanoke Memorial Hospital at Christmas.
The special needs youth enrolled in this program gain real life on-the-job experiences that in turn help them develop skills they can use to gain future employment and live more independently. Besides the Salem Animal Shelter, the students have worked with the Salem YMCA and the Salem Food Lion this school year.
“One of our primary goals at Salem High School is to go beyond the content,” says Principal Scott Habeeb. “We want our students to apply their learning in a way that serves others and has a positive impact on the community and our Community-Based Instruction program provides these incredible students with an opportunity to do just that. It’s exciting to see young people appreciate the fact that they are capable of working hard and making an impact.”
“I have observed these young people at these events and the students are proud of their work and individual accomplishments,” says Randy Jennings, Director of Student Service for Salem City
Schools. “One student reported, while in the middle of a task at a local retail store, that he was important to his community and that sense of capability has been echoed by other students in the transition program.”
        www.salemva.gov | SPRING 2015
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