This fall, the students enrolled in the Community Vocational Program (CVP) at Thornton Academy have been busy working at Leary Farm in North Saco. CVP is a program specifically designed to create real-world work opportunities and experience for students by exposing them to various vocational opportunities in the community. The broad goal of the program is to individualize sets of activities that focus on improving a student’s movement from school to post-school activities, including education, vocational training, and community participation. Some of the various task the students have done include picking pumpkins and squash out in the field, washing vegetables, making boxes for packaging, and selling fresh produce to faculty at school.
TA students Brandon and Zachary take a break from cleaning pumpkins with Nicole and Kevin from Leary Farm.
“I love having the students come to the farm. I wish they could spend more time during their visits. Forty minutes just doesn’t seem like enough. It’s a wonderful opportunity to give to the students, an opportunity to thrive, and learn, and grow mentally and emotionally. I absolutely hope this partnership continues and grows!”
“We are so very fortunate to have created this partnership with the Leary family, who have produced many TA alums over the years. The students are learning many new skills and concepts that cannot be taught in the classroom setting. They are learning how to work with others as a team and build natural community supports.”
~Kristy Kendrick Transition Coordinator
“I enjoy learning new things and being off-campus. Kevin and Jesika Leary are very cool people and Nicole, who make us feel welcomed. Everyone knows what days we will be there and we are always greeted by the dogs too, Dibs and Barb. I feel like I’m a part of the farm.”
~ Brandon K. student
“It’s a good experience for everyone and brings something new each day they come to the farm. Seeing the excitement on their faces and accomplishments on their faces is awesome. They are great kids and we hope to continue the partnership into the spring during planting season.”
~ Kevin Leary