Every Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Cypress Bay High School B.R.I.D.G.E.S. class gets together for a new learning opportunity towards independent living. On Tuesdays, the students participate in an in-class activity that prepares them for their Community Based Instruction Trip on Thursdays. This week the class focused on their budgeting, resources, and independent functioning skills which represents the “B”, “R”, and “I” in B.R.I.D.G.E.S.

Last Tuesday, students were busy learning how to write a letter as HDS Foundation staff taught the students everything that needed to be included: a letter heading, body, and salutation. Then, each student wrote a letter to one of their classmates explaining why a certain DVD, CD, or video game is their favorite. After the letters were written, the students then reviewed and addressed each of their envelopes. The next step was to put their letter along with their CD, DVD, or video game cover inside. Lastly, the class discussed the questions they might be asked before mailing their package. These questions included, “Does your package contain any liquids, perishables or hazardous materials? How would you like to mail the package – Priority Express, Priority Mail, or First Class? Do you want to buy insurance?” etc.

Yesterday, the class took their CBI trip to the Weston Post Office. All students brought their packages with them and waited patiently in line. As each student approached the register, they answered all the questions, weighed their package, and paid for their shipping using their debit cards. One of the students, Anita, had a VCR cover inside her envelope; thus, having to pay a higher shipping cost. Facilitators Ms. Kathy Gormin-Gard and Ms. Donna Mansolillo explained to the students why her costs were different than others. If students did not want to wait in line to purchase stamps and/or mail a package, they were taught how to use the self-service machine! They thought it was very cool and efficient.

As the students were gathering up to go back to school, Ms. Donna Mansolillo had asked the students what the difference was between using a Post Office box versus your home mailbox. One of the students, Sam, explained that if people didn’t want to reveal their address, they could use a Post Office box instead. Overall, this was a very informative and resourceful CBI trip for the students which they enjoyed very much! To follow up with this CBI, the students will receive the packages and will bring them to class.  They will then open it up and read the letter from their fellow classmates 😊