Community Based Instruction – Lowe’s Garden Challenge

Community Based Instruction – Lowe’s Garden Challenge

The Homestead Senior High B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Self Determination Class has been focusing on their budgeting skills this week! The class attended their first CBI (community-based instruction) trip to Lowe’s for the Lowe’s Garden Challenge. This challenge consisted of the class, along with teach Paola Papili, shopping for supplies to prepare and create a class butterfly flower garden. Prior to the trip, the students were given the task of creating a shopping list that consisted of plants, soil, and accessories while also stating the number of units for each one. The purpose of the challenge was to make sure their total fell closest to the budget assigned without overspending. When they arrived at Lowes, the students, Ms. Paola Papili, and HDS Foundation staff Meagan Bouscher Miranda worked together to choose and calculate all of items the students desired. The students then paid for their items with their own debit cards, and some students realized that they were over their budget. This obstacle led the students to practice their problem-solving skills. They had to choose an item from their basket to put back in order to stay within their budget. All that shopping led to some very hungry students; so, the class decided to have lunch at Jimmy Johns where they enjoyed sandwiches together before heading back to their school. The students were also able to practice their budgeting skills here as they ordered and paid for their own lunch. The students are super excited as they prepare to beautify their school! One can see the joy in each student’s face throughout the process of picking the items they like, purchasing them with their own funds, and contributing in their own way for this butterfly garden. The HDS Contenders are looking forward to seeing these flowers bloom as well as watching the students grow throughout the year!
I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! Who else enjoys planning for an ice cream party?! Last week, the Cypress Bay B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program mastered their budgeting skills at Publix while completing the Ice Cream Challenge. The purpose of this challenge was to buy the items necessary for an ice cream party, while coming as close to the budget as possible without overspending.

Prior to the event, teachers Ms. Kathy Gormin-Gard and Donna Mansolillo taught the class how to plan and organize a shopping list while providing a budget for each group. The groups had to compromise and negotiate with one another to come up with an agreement on various ice cream flavors and toppings.

Once the students arrived at Publix, they were divided up into teams and shopped away. It was super interesting to see how each group took on this challenge and how each student in the group took on a different role. As they calculated their total, including tax, the groups were able to problem solve and decide if they could either add or remove any items in order to match the budget.

This CBI trip motivated the students to participate in this enjoyable and educational activity. Not only did they budget their way into an ice cream party, but they also had fun doing it together as they practiced their social and problem-solving skills. Stay tuned as the students continue to represent the “B” in B.R.I.D.G.E.S through their budgeting CBI trips.

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” a popular phrase that is said when it comes down to collaboration and motivation for people to work together. Today, the Cypress Bay B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program brought their teamwork skills outdoors instead of in the classroom. The class took their Community Based Instruction (CBI) trip to Weston Regional Park where the students were able to engage in a variety of team building activities.

Building a team and emphasizing collaboration is essential to BRIDGING the differences and getting everyone to work as one unit.  A big component of team building is problem-solving which falls under “Development” in B.R.I.D.G.E.S. The first activity the class participated in was a guessing game. The teachers gave each student an emotion they had to depict in a picture and show in front of the class. While one student explained their picture, the rest of the class came together to guess and solve which emotion was being portrayed. This activity allowed the students to build creativity, communication and problem-solving skills.

The next activity the class participated in was geared more towards the “Social” and communication skills. The teacher asked the class if they had participated in certain experiences which then created a conversation amongst the students allowing them to practice their skills. This was a fun way to learn more about each other by using communication.

The last and final activity was a partnered competition. This excited and motivated the students to fully engage in the collaboration aspect. Two partnered teams competed against each other to see how many balled up pieces of paper they could get in their bucket under a certain amount of time. Keep in mind, they only had two hands between the two of them. This was a challenge, because while one partner had to hold the notebook, the other one had to tear the pages, ball the paper, and throw it in the bucket. The activity was successful in showing the students that they had to come together in order to find the best solution. The students also realized that they had to take on different roles, even if it wasn’t what they wanted to do initially.

All in all, it was a wonderful day filled with enjoyable games and activities for the Cypress Bay B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program. Having these types of CBI trips and opportunities to further develop their skills are what sets B.R.I.D.G.E.S. apart from other high school programs for students with disabilities. Stay tuned to see what’s in store for the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. class at their next CBI trip!

B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Supports Mission BBQ While Budgeting

B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Supports Mission BBQ While Budgeting

There is nothing more American than BBQ! The Cypress Bay B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Program continued their budgeting journey this week on their CBI trip to Mission BBQ. At this outing, the students not only got to practice their money management skills as well as social skills, but they also learned the history and background of Mission BBQ. The employees expressed how important their mission statement is to the restaurant allowing the students to understand the meaning of the name “Mission BBQ”. To support their mission of serving BBQ for all our loved ones in service, the students were able to participate in singing the National Anthem along with the employees. After the National Anthem, the students went to the register, ordered their food, and used their debit cards to pay for their meal. They’re starting to get the hang of it on their own. 😉 The students socialized, enjoyed their meal, and to top it off, the employees brought some goodies for dessert. Overall, this was an enjoyable learning experience where we were brought into a community-based restaurant and the students were able to practice many of their skills while learning more about Mission BBQ.

HDS Companies Annual Spook-tacular Halloween

Who said Halloween was just for children?? Here at HDS Companies, we take Halloween to the next level. From rollercoaster rides and Disney movies to actual “DEATH”, we love coming together and dressing for the occasion. This year, we started our Halloween festivities with a fang-tastic breakfast from Chik-Fil-A. Following the breakfast, we had our exciting costume contest. Everyone gathered around the main conference room area and showed off their spook-tacular costumes for the judges. There were four categories to compete in: Most Creative, Funniest, Scariest, and the HDS Grand Award. The winners of this year’s contest were:

  • Most Creative – Natalie Stevenson as Darla from Finding Nemo
  • Funniest – Mario Rumasuglia as The Cat in the Hat
  • Scariest – Aura Valerio as Grim Reaper “Death”
  • HDS Grand Award – eHousingPlus for their Roller Coaster Ride

Each year the costumes get better and better, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year’s Halloween. HDS Companies hopes everyone had a ghoulishly delightful Halloween yesterday.