New Horizons second-hand store returns
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 .