Feel Good Friday: Sprucing Up and Growing Up

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 5:59 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - For the last 12 weeks, a group of Whitmer High School students has been visiting the Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Ohio as part of the school’s Career Tech Program.

The program is open to juniors and seniors who apply. Paraprofessional and job coach, Christine Arvay, has been watching students blossom for 14 years and counting.

“When they start as juniors, they’re very nervous and very unsure of themselves,” said Arvay. “By the time they’re seniors, you can see that development and the confidence and they’re ready.”

Arvay describes the program as a chance for these students to get a real-life taste of some options for the future.

“We don’t all get to experience a whole bunch of jobs before we say, ‘oh, what do we want do,’ so this gives them the opportunity,” said Arvay.

The work also provides students with a whole toolbox of real-life skills.

“Problem solving,” Arvay recounted. “The communication skills, the social skills, the actual, you know, working skills: how to follow a list, follow directions, things like that.”

Chad Bringman, RDMH Executive Director, said re-starting programs like this post-pandemic has been a joy.

“We went from these groups and went from volunteers here every day to basically one staff for months at a time,” Bringman recalled. “For us to be able to reengage with these students, reengage with the volunteers it’s been very powerful for us.”

The students say their experiences at the RMDH has another benefit, too.

“Giving back to the families that have sick kids - it just makes you feel good,” said senior, Bianca Martinez. “It makes them happy, it makes us happy, it’s just a happy thing!”

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