Students practice work and life skills;

It’s no sweat for them!


Move over Amazon! If you think you wrote the book on product fulfillment and distribution, think again. Meet the Transition Team at Mary Cariola Children’s Center!

Recently, students and staff from our Transition Program sold powder blue sweatshirts to commemorate Mary Cariola’s 70th anniversary. Like any new and trendy item, the sale took off and the team found themselves with 250 orders coming in.

Many of the students had order processing experience from their Cariola Cafe lunch delivery service, so these Transition Students (ages 15-21) had plenty of confidence in placing and preparing orders, packaging and delivering – but on a much smaller scale. The larger volume presented several challenges, and more importantly an opportunity to learn something new!

Transition Specialists Molly Iten and Rachel Mueller worked with the students on the entire process from ordering to delivery. The emphasis and key to success included double- and triple-checking.

“We worked on overall life and work skills that the students already mastered,” Molly said. “We kept a constant conversation going and answered every question that each student had. Everyone knew that nothing got distributed until it was checked several times.”

To make the process run more efficiently, each table contained one specific size sweatshirt, and boxes were clearly labeled with delivery destinations from classrooms to campus locations to residential homes. The production process was set up for success!

Luis filled out each packing slip, with name, size and delivery location. He said his biggest challenge was learning new names, classroom numbers and ultimately classroom locations. Fellow classmates completed the packaging, checked the order form to make sure the correct size was inserted, and placed in the proper destination box. Deliveries were completed by students from both campuses.

Molly said that the students learned several new skills and gained a better appreciation for existing skills including:

Handwriting: Students learned the Importance of writing names clearly and legibly, and realized that if a peer didn’t write neatly, it was hard to determine who was getting the shirt.

Teamwork: Working as a team you have to be patient when the other person might be a bit slower than you are.

Noise level: When working together everyone must moderate their voice volume.

Problem solving: What do we do if someone isn’t in the classroom (or home) when we deliver? Do we leave it or return later? (Most decided it could be left with another trusted person.)

With the sweatshirts now delivered, the Transition Team is looking for their next challenge while remaining busy with their greeting card design and production projects, collating materials, and volunteering in the community.