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Meal site important to students

May 2, 2012
The Daily Freeman Journal

To the Editor,

I'm writing this letter in support of keeping Congregate Meals alive at the present location. Not only have I enjoyed several great meals at Congregate Meals, I have rented the upper level for parties and family get-togethers. The space is warm and the accommodations perfect for special occasions. Many more groups would rent this area if its availability would be advertised - maybe on the city TV?channel as are the park shelters.

I have an even greater interest in keeping Congregate Meals active at the present site. My special education students at the high school for the past eight years have used the meal site for job training. I was able to work with a group of students to learn job skills including following directions, learning employer-employee roles and increasing work speed and efficiency.

Besides learning work routines and adjusting to changes in routines, the students improved social skills and made friends with the senior citizens at the meal site. The praise and encouragement gave them greatly improved self-worth and confidence. Many senior citizens realized the many abilities the students have instead of the disabilities. The yearly Christmas party with student-selected menu gave the students to meet the people who sit a the tables they have set.

These learning experiences would have been impossible within the school building. Being able to work with a group of six to eight students in an actual meal setting also allowed time to concentrate on individual needs and problem areas at one job site. Both the students and the Congregate Meals staff have benefited.

Lorraine Crawford,

retired special education teacher, strategist II

Webster City



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