The Children's Institute Blog

Transition Tuesday: Maggie & Anthony at the J Cafe, at AgeWell at the JCC

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 by The Children's Institute


Anthony looks into the milk cooler
At The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, we are grateful to be able to collaborate with so many wonderful community organizations that have been open to partnering to create valuable opportunities for the amazing kids we serve.

Highlighted today for #TransitionTuesday is the AgeWell at the JCC's J Cafe, located at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill.    


“Amy Gold and the staff from the JCC have been awesome in accepting the transition students from The Day School for the J Cafe, which provides friendship and socialization along with a nutritious, kosher lunch for people living in Allegheny County and who are 60 and older,” said Lisa Paglia, community-based instruction facilitator for students in The Day School at The Children’s Institute. “The staff at the JCC and other volunteers have been amazing with our students.”

For almost five years, students from The Day School at The Children’s Institute have been traveling less than a mile down the road to arrive at the JCC where they take on various real-world job duties.

Maggie with food tray
Student Maggie will be entering her third year with the program and has become independent in the workplace, learning to use her “natural supports” from within the job environment when she needs assistance. These natural supports might include other volunteers or JCC employees.

Paglia, one of Maggie’s community volunteer coaches, has spent time working with other volunteers and staff at the JCC to educate them about Maggie and what approaches work best when Maggie needs further guidance or assistance.

“The volunteers have been extremely receptive to the advice and have been great supports to Maggie,” said Paglia.

Maggie is not alone in her responsibilities at the J Cafe. Joining Maggie is fellow Day School student Anthony who has been working with the J Cafe for a year.

During his time on the job, Anthony has increased his independence from a work and social perspective. At the J Cafe, Anthony uses proper greetings to say hello to AgeWell participants as they come to him to get their milk – one of three kinds of milk that Anthony identifies for the participants. He has also worked on cleaning skills, working to clean tables and chairs before and during lunch.

Anthony with the milk cooler
“The JCC is an amazing place and The Day School is grateful to have such an amazing volunteer opportunity,” said Paglia.


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