The Lunch Program, one of the cornerstone programs at GTL, is an all-encompassing training platform for participants. Whether they are folding linen, counting lunch orders, or reading recipe ingredients, participants from one of five production centers are practicing their manual and cognitive skills in daily life activities. Approximately 60 participants touch some part of the process that produces a nutritional and tasty lunch for approximately 50 individuals each day. It takes organization, a project management plan, an index of tasks broken down by skills, and a synchronization of diverse activities to have it all come together each day at 12:00 pm.
More importantly are the skills being honed – counting lunch orders and side dishes, measuring ingredients, reading recipes, cleaning the food facilities, washing cookware, organizing the cupboards, setting up the food carts, and performing food preparation skills such as stirring, cutting, and shredding. These skills are exercised in a particular production center – menu inventory, ingredients and kitchen supply delivery, food preparation, laundry, and cleaning maintenance. All five centers work in harmony to get lunch on the table and clean-up completed.
Participants, with the input of their parents or guardian, choose the production center in which he or she wants to work. Their progress is checked regularly, but for many of them, it’s all about doing the work they enjoy. In the words of one participant who echoed the unanimous sentiment of her peers, “We get the job done!” It’s a grand accomplishment every day.
The true magnitude of the Lunch Program is realized in meeting its main objective – self-sufficiency and transference of skills to home life. Before learning how to program a microwave, Kim was randomly pressing buttons. Then there’s Mario whose mother did everything for him. Through the Lunch Program, he now makes his own sandwiches at home. ViVi, with proper training, learned how to use a knife to slice cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. She is now the salad maker at her house. Also, Nii has become the baker in his family as a result of following the chocolate chip cookie recipe used for Dorothy’s Can-Do Cafe.
Congratulations to them and to all participants who taken one step closer to reaching their fullest potential.
Gateway to Learning Special Education and Training Center
4925 N. Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60625-2609
P. 773-784-3200 F. 773-784-3299
Dorothy's Can Do Cafe
4925 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625-2609
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