Our Journey Through the Park Center Vocational Program

by Samantha Potashnick, Noah Bronfeld and Wendy Lacey

The Glenview Park Center has always been an inclusive place. Before COVID, many team members at GADOL worked at the Perk Cafe providing coffee and snacks to visitors. Now that the Perk Cafe is closed, the Glenview Park District wanted to create more opportunities for people with disabilities to volunteer. 

Kristina Jeluso, a staff member at the Park Center, created a 6-8 program learning different aspects of jobs that you can have at the Park Center. The jobs include: scanning membership cards at the front desk, folding the towels and supplying them where needed and cleaning the machines with disinfectant wipes or spray. Kristina was our awesome supervisor!

We are the first group to participate in this program. It wasn’t created for us but we got in at ground level. 

Judy Farby, who we know because she’s volunteered at GADOL for a long time, was our job coach. She would help show us how to do the tasks and then we would do it. We could ask her questions or one of the staff at the Park Center if we needed help. We would never feel alone.

It was fun to learn how to scan membership cards. And fold the towels. It was a fun experience because you got to learn new stuff. I liked to interact with the community and meet new people. (Sam)

My favorite part was doing the laundry and folding towels. I used to work at a hotel so I relearned a lot of those skills. Me and Sam sometimes did the jobs separately and we sometimes worked together. (Noah)

We would work together and help each other. The Keshet values were a big part of the job. We used teamwork, integrity, respect and communication. (Sam)

GADOL helped us with job training. We have practiced a lot of the skills we did there before like folding laundry. We also learned time management because we would get there early. We learned how to communicate and ask for help. Our staff at GADOL taught us these skills.

I learned how to be more independent and ask less questions so I can figure things out on my own. I also learned that I should say hi to the members before I scan their cards. (Sam)

The staff was so nice. We would have to ask the staff about the laundry sometimes and they were very helpful to us.

When I needed help, I communicated with the letter board in my pocket. (Noah)

In my next job, I want to continue to work on my time management. (Sam)

I want to work more with Wendy and get more experience in jobs. (Noah)

When we graduated from the program, we got certificates! Kristina, our boss, signed them. It made us feel very proud to get these certificates.

Now that we are done with the program, two of our other friends at GADOL will get to participate. We will walk the track at the Park Center while they work, just like they did when we were working.

It is so nice to know that there are places out there like the Park Center that can be inclusive for everyone. We hope that other communities will see the great work that Sam and Noah did and it will inspire them to create more opportunities for our team members. (Wendy)

This was such a fun experience for the both of us. We are really proud of the work that we did.

(Sam and Noah)

Keshet is deeply committed to Northfield Township where the Park Center is located. Northfield Township Human Services Commission has generously funded programs at Keshet for Northfield Township residents. Funding from this year’s grant contributed to Keshet’s ability to provide this opportunity for Sam and Noah. If you are a Northfield Township resident, who wants more information about programs at Keshet that are available to you, please contact Jamie Lake, Chief Communications Officer.

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