Ottawa Area ISD students enhance their lives and the lives of residents while working at Fountain View Assisted Living in Coopersville.
Since 2018, students aged 18 to 26 with special needs in the OAISD Young Adult Services (YAS) program have worked at Fountain View to gain valuable social skills and work experience that helps prepare them for life when they exit the program. The added benefit is the meaningful friendships they form with residents and staff.
YAS students rotate between buildings, setting tables for meals, tidying the dining area, and transporting used items to the dish room for cleaning. Afterward, they return to prepare the tables for lunch.
“Students working at Fountain View love coming here and making a difference,” Tiffany Anthony, YAS Instructor for OAISD, says. “We’re so fortunate to have community partners like Fountain View that open their doors to our students to help them gain valuable skills that are difficult to learn in a classroom.”
Through this community partnership, students learn important social and employability skills including how to accept changing needs, complete tasks and interact socially. The YAS program allows every student to gain the skills they need to become more independent in their day–to–day living to succeed and thrive which is what makes it so special.”
“Some of our students are working towards living independently while others are working towards living in a group home,” Tiffany says. “All of our students benefit from interactions with the workers and the residents.”
Along with keeping the facility clean, students also paint and play games with the residents.
Fountain View resident Mary Ann Meerman says she always enjoys it when the students come into work. “They’re friendly and they accept me as I am.”
Mindi Vladika, Resident Care Specialist at Fountain View, said she enjoys having the students come to work and see how great it is to work in this environment. “Working here puts a smile on their faces when they see the residents,” Mindi says. “We all enjoy it so much.”
Tiffany says Fountain View has been very flexible and welcoming with the students, which helps to make the experience great for all involved.
“Fountain View loves the extra help and students have a fulfilling purpose where they can grow and learn while putting a smile on resident's faces,” Tiffany says. “It’s a win, win, win and that’s really what it’s all about.”
“It’s a tailor-made process, whatever the students want to do we help them to identify that plan and stick with it.” –Susan Tater, Student Advisor
“Students working at Fountain View love coming here and making a difference.” —Tiffany Anthony, YAS Instructor for OAISD