A crowd of nearly 300 students, family members, guardians and supporters gathered together yesterday in the gymnasium and cafeteria at Charles F. Hayden School in Milford, CT for the annual schoolwide Thanksgiving lunch.
In addition to celebrating the holiday and building community, attendees received updates from teachers and filled their plates with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other traditional Thanksgiving fixings. The feast was topped off with pie made by students in the organization’s innovative vocational Work-to-Learn program.
“Through events like this, the kids see how much we care about them and it also provides an opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving they may not have outside of here,” said Samantha Popel a middle school teacher.
The K-12th grade special education school, which is located on the Boys & Girls Village campus, provides a safe and nurturing environment where at-risk students experience emotional, behavioral and academic growth. Students build skills to manage their own behavior and develop self-control, as well as to become contributing citizens and community members.
Looking beyond high school, the organization prepares Connecticut’s most vulnerable youth for a successful transition into adulthood. Their Work To Learn program provides on-the-job training, vocational placements are offered both on and off campus, and a new Life Skills & Vocational Training Center is underway, which will offer introductory vocational classes in the areas of culinary management, automotive repair, computer programming, and manufacturing.
“Boys & Girls Village is always trying to be on the cutting edge of meeting students’ needs and our new vocational building will prepare them to enter the workforce, or continue onto college,” said Daniel French, Ph.D., Vice President of Education. “We’re very excited about it. It will really be a gamechanger for many students to have this kind of training while they’re still in high school, so they’re ready to hit the ground running when they leave school.”
“We are thankful for our students and committed to their success,” said Kim Shaunesey, Ph.D., President of Boys & Girls Village. “Today’s event supports the children and families we serve, and we look forward to continuing to expand to meet their changing needs.”