Careers Industries

The staff at Careers Industries

show off their 1980s fashion sense as part of the nonprofit’s Spirit Days programs.

Participants in Careers Industries Integrated Day Services (IDS) program are famous for staying busy. Recent months have been no exception with a variety of programs onsite and in the community.

Participants visit local businesses and area destinations and also plan special events. IDS offers more than 150 participants each month social, community and volunteer experiences that provide valuable life skills training.

One particularly fun and humorous new initiative staff and participants planned together was the launch of “Spirit Days” including Crazy Hair Day, ’80s Flashback Day and Western/Cowboy Day. We also had a special Red, White & Blue Day to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. Spirit Days are held twice a month with a full schedule booked into next year. Of course, for the holidays, we held an Ugly Sweater Day.

“Not only is it fun, but there is an educational aspect to activities like Spirit Days, as well,” said Laura Spaulding, Careers Industries’ rehabilitation director. “For example when we did Red, White & Blue Day for 9/11, that helped our participants understand and process what happened that day. Wearing red for heart health helped prompt conversations about health and wellness.”

Community visits provide great learning opportunities as well as social experiences. Our participants snowshoed at Pringle Nature Center, recycled cans at a local recycling center and attended several area museums and the UW-Parkside Art Gallery.

Recent educational sessions held at onsite at Careers Industries covered a wide variety of subjects. Participants learned about technology and the history of the telephone. We had sessions on street signs, math and word recognition, the human skeleton, Pearl Harbor, money skills and home safety.

No matter how busy our participants are, they always find time to give back to the community through hours of volunteer service each year to local organizations. Participants recently delivered meals through the Meals on Wheels program. As part of a community service project, participants made aprons to donate to a local nursing home for residents to wear at meal times. With the help of our staff, IDS participants cut the patterns and sewed the aprons themselves. Spaulding says that, similar to art projects, creating the aprons is a fulfilling task that can also serve as an opportunity to exercise mobility.

“When participants are producing something and it is an outcome-based activity — whether it’s aprons or art — it makes them feel good,” says Spaulding. “Especially for those who are non-verbal, it is a way to express themselves and to make connections.”

Play time is important too. Participants have enjoyed Wii Games, trivia and singing karaoke. They have made cookies, exercised in our workout room and relaxed with arm and neck massages.

Careers Industries and our participants are always looking to expand our relationships in the community with area businesses, destinations and nonprofits. We welcome an opportunity to visit you or have you visit us. Please call Laura Spaulding at Careers Industries to learn more at 262-752-4100 or email Laura@careersindustries.org. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay up to date, as well.

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