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Theresa Paplin School Students Pitching in Against COVID-19

April 29, 2020 / SCO News

As we endure these unprecedented times, many children are suffering from anxiety, trauma, and boredom. For many, this pandemic is something that encroaches upon their way of life. Some of the students at our Theresa Paplin School (TPS), SCO’s residential school for adolescents and young adults with serious emotional disturbance and developmental delays, have had a hard time coping. Then they learned they could help.

Students at TPS, who live at our Ottilie Residential Treatment Facility in Queens, have been creating COVID-related posters and flyers to hang across the Ottilie campus and throughout the entire SCO agency to help remind people how to stay well and avoid spreading the coronavirus. They just finished shipping an order of 160 printed and laminated posters to 75 SCO locations and are currently creating t-shirts for students and staff at the Ottilie campus reminding everyone to socially distance.

Answering the call to action in this way has given these students a sense of empowerment. They know they are helping to prevent the spread of this disease, possibly saving lives. They’re proud that they’ve been able to do something good for their fellow students and the entire SCO community.

This project was accomplished through the TPS “Dream Factory.” Led by Vocational and Technology Teacher Joe Levy, students learn computer technology, design software, and a variety of business and production skills that they apply using Dream Factory printing and laminating equipment. They’re able to design and produce flyers, wide-format posters, t-shirts and more. They even have a Laser Shop where they engrave nameplates and signage.

Participation in the Dream Factory is part of the Theresa Paplin School curriculum. Students are able to apply the technical skills they’re learning to get employment in places like Staples or Office Depot. They’re learning things like how to determine the cost to produce items, inventory and other business skills they can apply outside of the classroom. The curriculum has adapted to the limitations brought on by COVID-19, with a handful of students actively participating until things get back to normal.

“I never get tired of seeing the joy on their faces when they’ve accomplished something,” says Joe. “When I see how proud they are, I think to myself, ‘I’ve done something useful today.’ ”

96%

of 12th graders in SCO's Family Foster Care program graduated high school, with 65% enrolled in post-secondary education

82%

of students at our residential school for youth with high-functioning autism are actively involved in weekly internships in the community