New Hori­zons sec­ond-hand store re­turns

Sherbrooke Record - - FRONT PAGE - By Gor­don Lam­bie

The So­cial Par­tic­i­pa­tion Pro­gram at New Hori­zons Adult Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre is get­ting ready to re­open its class “friperie,” or sec­ond-hand store this year, now with a wider va­ri­ety of items for sale

“The friperie idea started last year when we thought it would be a great idea for the stu­dents to run their own store,” said Manon Les­sard, the teacher in charge of the pro­gram. “Money man­age­ment, so­cial skills, and house­hold skills are some skills that the stu­dents have to learn through the pro­gram so why not hav­ing a real life sit­u­a­tion with real money and real peo­ple?”

Les­sard ex­plained that the pro­gram is de­signed for stu­dents with sig­nif­i­cant and per­sis­tent learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, mild to moder­ate in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties, Autism Spec­trum Dis­or­der, Men­tal health dis­or­ders or dif­fi­cul­ties, peo­ple un­der 55 with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties, and adults with dif­fi­cul­ties ad­just­ing in school or out of school.

“The main goal of the pro­gram is for the stu­dents to ac­quire skills needed to be­come as au­ton­o­mous and in­de­pen­dent as pos­si­ble,” Les­sard said. “The pro­gram used to be called “So­cial In­te­gra­tion” but is now called The So­cial Par­tic­i­pa­tion Pro­gram.”

Ac­cord­ing to the teacher, the pro­gram is di­vided into four spheres: So­cial, Per­sonal, School and Work, which

are meant to cover the ma­jor­ity of in­ter­ac­tions that the stu­dent might en­counter in their life. The sec­ond-hand store model, Les­sard said, touches all four spheres in a way that is far more real for the stu­dents than in-class lessons.

In or­der to de­velop new skills, stu­dents have the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties at the cen­ter such as mak­ing small snacks for the staff and the other stu­dents at the cen­ter. Trans­fer­ring the skills in real life sit­u­a­tion is the fi­nal ob­jec­tive for the stu­dents, which is what in­spired the friperie project last year.

“For the 2017-18 school year only cloth­ing was for sale,” Les­sard said. “This year we added book sec­tions as well as new re­cy­cled wood projects that the stu­dents are work­ing on.”

"La fab­rique des étu­di­ants," the teacher ex­plained, is a new ini­tia­tive of the pro­gram that al­lows stu­dents to prac­tice sand­ing, drilling, mea­sur­ing, and paint­ing skills, all of which may prove use­ful in fu­ture job place­ments and in­tern­ships.

“All the money raised is go­ing to ac­tiv­i­ties and end of year out­ings,” Les­sard said. “The friperie is open four days a week and is run by the stu­dents and su­per­vised by the teacher in the class­room.”

The teacher clar­i­fied that the space is only open to the pub­lic by ap­point­ment, but ex­tended the invi­ti­a­tion for peo­ple to come and check the space out. The pro­gram also has a Face­book page for La fab­rique des étu­di­ants where they post new wood­work­ing projects .

GOR­DON LAM­BIE

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