Youth Enrichment Program students visit the local mall

February 4 2019
by Katie Phillips

The students of our Youth Enrichment Program had a day of fun at Park City Center while participating in the “Taking Care of Business” class! This past Saturday, a group of teen and preteen students gathered at VisionCorps headquarters to begin their day-long adventure. Jennifer Eaton, Director of Youth Services, divided the kids and accompanying staff members into two scavenger hunt teams to compete for a mystery prize. Students were given a set amount of money to complete tasks throughout the day, including paying for bus fare, eating lunch, and purchasing their choice of items from different stores in the mall.

Learning Bus Travel and Financial Skills

Before leaving VisionCorps, the kids received a quick lesson in storing money from Erika Rothermel, VisionCorps’ Teacher of the Visually Impaired. Erika showed students how to fold different denominations of bills to be able to recognize them later when making a purchase.

When everyone was ready, the group braved their way through the cold to reach the bus station across the street. For many of the kids, it was the first time purchasing their own bus fare!  Jennifer Eaton hopped on the bus first to guide everyone in feeding their money into the bus fare collector.

The Scavenger Hunt

Soon, the group arrived at Park City Center mall in Lancaster and the fun could begin! The group made their way through the food court­—doing their best to ignore the smell of fresh cookies and pretzels—and received their lists of scavenger hunt goals. The lists, in Braille or plain type depending on need, listed a variety of tasks designed to help the kids interact with mall workers and their own team members. Items on the list included finding out the price of a cupcake, checking the mall map to determine the number of bathrooms in the mall, and getting an official shopping bag from Build-a-Bear.

Soon, the teams split up and the contest was on! The two teams worked hard and completed their lists with plenty of time to spare. Everyone took a break to celebrate with lunch in the food court, where they used their money to practice purchasing their own lunches.

The day was a great success for Youth Enrichment Program kids who expanded their orientation and mobility skills in a busy environment. More importantly, they all practiced their independence skills by interacting with workers at different shops, reading the mall map, and choosing their own purchases.

“The goal of the day is to nudge each student out of his or her comfort zone. We want them to leave feeling empowered and realizing that their visual impairment should not stop them from doing everyday things on their own,” said Jennifer Eaton.

In the end, the winning participants went home with an iTunes gift card, while second place won some delicious chocolate bars for their great work.

About the Youth Enrichment Program

The Youth Enrichment Program provides recreational, socialization, and other daily living activities. All planned activities challenge students in everyday life situations in order to empower participants to be independent later in life.

For more information about Youth Services, call VisionCorps at 717-291-5951 or use our contact form.

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