Vocational program helps students with intellectual disabilities
HAYWARD — On the Hayward Adult School campus, tucked away down a dimly lit hall, there is a place where simple life lessons are taught.
Those lessons begin around 8 a.m. Monday through Friday, when the 13 students in Glenn Parado’s job transition program file into their classroom: a makeshift coffee shop called The Mocha Cafe, set up next to the Hayward Adult School bookstore.
Right off the bat, there is a checklist of things to be done as The Mocha Cafe opens for business at 8:30 a.m., and everybody has a role. Tables and chairs must be cleaned and set up. The espresso machine needs to be working. Pastries, condiments, snacks and bagels must be set out. And whole coffee beans need to be run through the coffee grinder.
It is an almost daily routine that is intended to prepare students with mild to severe intellectual disabilities for life after they age out of the public school system.
“We try to teach them how to behave when you’re at work or in class and things that a lot of people take for granted, such as having clean clothes when you come to school, wearing deodorant, brushing their teeth, washing their face and making sure their hair is clean,” Parado said in an interview at the coffee shop.
“Things that we take for granted are things that we need to reinforce and tell our students,” he said.
They are lessons that go beyond vocational tasks taught each day, such as how to make a variety of beverages, count money, stock inventory and merchandise products, Parado said. He is the third teacher to lead The Mocha Cafe program since it began in 1999.
“When I first started teaching and these issues would come up, I remember thinking, ‘I guess I need to talk about that because that’s an issue we need to deal with,’ ” Parado said.
“And then there’s also romantic relationships. Their developments are a little behind, but they’re almost at a junior high or early high school (level) as far as dealing with romantic relationships, so we kind of have to tell them how they should behave in that regard as well,” he said.
Parado, who has led efforts at The Mocha Cafe since 2011, said the coffee shop is part of the school district’s job transition program, provided under federal law for students with intellectual disabilities after they graduate from high school. Such programs are provided until the students are 22 years old and are designed to teach key independent living skills, such as positive job ethics, customer service etiquette and teamwork, Parado said.
“A majority of our customers are from the English as a second language program, which is right across the hall, and they go on break at 10:30 a.m.,” Parado said during a brief respite from the morning rush at the coffee shop.
“A couple of times, we’ve had the line come out to the door with all of these people wanting to get coffee for their break, and they’ll fill up all of the tables in here,” he said.
Students typically stay in The Mocha Cafe program for about two years before they are transferred to one of the four other adult transition programs offered by the school district for students 18 to 22 years old. Though most of his students are from Hayward, some have come from Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and San Leandro, Parado said.
“Technically we’re open to the public, so people could walk off the street to come and have a cup of coffee, but we have very limited hours … and we’re also kind of hidden because we’re inside of a neighborhood and inside of a school,” Parado said.
All proceeds from The Mocha Cafe go toward buying more supplies and subsidizing field trips for students, who have outings at nearby restaurants, bowling alleys, miniature golf courses and movie theaters. Students are taught how to catch AC Transit buses and BART trains during some field trips, Parado said.
Once students age out of the public school system, regional centers run by the state Department of Developmental Services helps place them in job programs or connect their families to additional services.
Some former students have been placed in jobs through Community Integrated Work Program in Hayward, which offers limited work hours to people with intellectual disabilities and support programs.
Other former students participate in Hayward Area Recreation and Park District programs at Sorensdale Recreation Center, including literacy, math, job preparation, communication, personal health, physical fitness, gardening, performing arts and music.
Parado also recalled running into two coffee shop alumni who now work at Lucky and Smart & Final.
“You know, at the end of the day, I’m tired but I’m happy, because I realize that I’m doing something pretty cool,” Parado said
“They’re just a joy to be around, and just seeing the students grow and learn skills that they’ll need as they get older makes it all worthwhile,” he said.
Plans are now in the works to open The Mocha Cafe’s second location in the Alameda County Office of Education office on Winton Avenue. It will be geared for people with intellectual disabilities who are at least 22 years old and have aged out of the public school system, Parado said.
“It has been about two years in the making, but there are different hurdles that they have to jump through, such as regulations, acquiring new equipment and remodeling the space for the cafe,” Parado said.
THE MOCHA CAFE
Where: Hayward Adult School, 22100 Princeton St., Hayward
When: 8:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Monday-Friday
Chamber internship sponsors sought
The Hayward Chamber of Commerce is looking for businesses to work with summer interns in marketing, advertising, photography, videography and social media.
The chamber sponsors the internship program with Hayward Unified School District and Eden Area Regional Occupational Program.
Thirty Tennyson High School multimedia students will intern with local businesses and organizations June 26 to Aug. 4.
“Our local employers are key partners for high school internships,” said Lisa Jackson, the chamber’s work-based learning director, in a release.
The program provides liability insurance for all interns in the program, to run June 26 to Aug. 4.
Employer applications are available at www.hayward.org. Jackson will follow up to provide more details.
For more information, contact Jackson at 510-384-2481or email@example.com
More Hayward students taking advanced placement
Hayward Unified School District was named to the College Board’s advanced placement honor roll.
School districts had to increase the percentage of students taking part in advanced placement and also the number of students earning an exam score of 3 or higher.
The number of Hayward students taking the exam went up by 9.2 percent, and the district increased the number of students scoring 3 or higher by 13 percent.
The district also had to increase or maintain the percentage of African-American, Latino and Native American students scoring at least 3 on one advanced placement exam.
According to national data, only about half of African-American, Latino and Native American students who qualify for advanced placement take part. Hayward plans to use a grant to pay the cost of the advanced placement for all its students.
Hayward is one of 433 school districts in the United States and Canada named to the honor roll.
Mt. Eden choir cabaret fundraiser planned
Mt. Eden High School choir will have a dessert theater cabaret fundraiser Feb. 24 and 25.
Tickets are $16, and can be ordered in advance at www.mehschoirs.org or at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with performances starting at 7 p.m.
The performances will be in the school’s cafeteria, 2300 Panama St.
Money raised will help cover the cost of competitions in Los Angeles this spring and the Golden State Choral Competition.
Rotary omelet champagne brunch Feb. 26
The Hayward Rotary Club is cooking up its ninth annual omelet champagne brunch fundraiser Feb. 26.
The brunch will include hourly prize drawings, champagne, mimosas and beverages.
The brunch will be 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at Moreau Catholic High School Event Center, 27170 Mission Blvd., Hayward.
Tickets, $10 per person, can be bought from any Hayward Rotarian or at the door. For more information, go to http://haywardrotary.org.
Funds raised will go to programs that benefit Hayward young people and families.
Davis Street auctioning off whiskey
Davis Street Family Resource Center is auctioning off a bottle of rare vintage bourbon whiskey to raise money for its programs.
Old Fashioned Copper donated a 1980 bottle of whiskey, one of 200 released and valued up to $10,000, according to the center.
The starting bid is $5,500. To place a bid, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bids will be accepted until Feb. 28.
Davis Street provides services to low-income residents in San Leandro.
Hayward chamber sponsors trip to Cuba
The Hayward Chamber of Commerce’s annual trip this year will be to Cuba.
The package includes a round-trip flight from San Francisco to Jamaica and a night at Sunscape Splash resort. The tour will then board the Celestyal Crystal cruise ship.
The trip will include tours of Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Punta Frances and Cienfuegos.
The trip is May 3-12, with a two-night optional extension at the Sunscape Splash in Montego Bay on May 12-13.
For more information, contact Tina Lambert at 510-247-2042 or email@example.com.
Chabot College TV station manager to give talk
Chabot College’s community television station manager will speak to the Hayward Chamber of Commerce Latino Business Roundtable on Feb. 24.
The station has operated for 50 years.
Sujoy Sarkar’s talk begins at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 24 in the Balch Pavilion at St. Rose Hospital, 27200 Calaroga Ave., Hayward.
For more information, go to www.hayward.org.
Friday, February 10, 2017 07:11PM
HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) --
It's the result of a long class project for these Hayward seventh graders that's proving to be a lesson in science is and a lesson in life.
They built blue boxes that store energy from the sun during the day that can power these LED light bulbs at night.
"We learned lots of new things I never knew I would ever do," said Marisol Barajas, a seventh grader.
"I mean this is something that they're building, something that they're creating, and when the lights come on, it's that satisfaction that they're saying this is something I've done," explained Cesar Chavez Middle School Principal Sean Moffatt.
Called the solar suitcase, it is a hands-on engineering project, which already makes it a special treat for the students. But they say just as exciting is who this project will help now that it's complete.
It's off to Uganda, where 80 percent of kids in Eastern Africa, do not have light. That means high school students, for example, who are taking the college entrance exams, often study at gas stations after the sun goes down.
There are study halls, but they are dark at night because there is no electricity. The solar suitcases will light up those study halls.
The kits were paid for by PG&E. The training to build them comes from students at Cal State East Bay.
"When you have kids in a school that themselves have overwhelming poverty statistics and what they're excited about is helping kids that are less well off than themselves. That is truly inspirational to me," says Karina Garbesi, a professor of environmental studies at Cal State East Bay. It was her idea to work with the middle schools.
"It feels amazing, you know? I feel so happy that I'm helping others... half way around the world," said one student.