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CRI Breakfast Cafe teaches students life skills

On February 7, students in the CRI department invited Parkdale’s staff to room 104 for a nice breakfast cafe, uniquely titled “The Espresso Yourself Cafe”. At the cafe they served hot coffee, hot chocolate, hot tea, juices, water and also warm donuts and muffins. All of the profit went to the seniors tribute and other CRI activities. 

“We revamped the whole thing and tried to make it homely as possible,” said CRI paraprofessionals Ms.Cannon who played a large part in coordinating the event.

The Espresso Yourself Cafe had many activities such as raffles where participants could win a free drink and another where staff members could put their name in and the winner would win a coffee cup. The program tried to get as many outside sponsors as they could, successfully receiving bagels from Bagels and Grinds near the University of Maryland. 

Some of the CRI and TIES students had certain jobs at the cafe such as a greeter, busboy, re-stocker,  cashier, data entry associate, sales associate and a head barista. With these jobs, students were able to learn job and practical skills alike in hopes to be prepared for the real world when they graduate. 

“In CRI, we teach functional life skills to prepare our students with life after high school,” said Ms. Mendevil, the lead teacher for the CRI program. “For [the Breakfast Cafe], our aim is to expose our students with work opportunities and develop the skills that will prepare them for supported employment.”

CRI stands for Community Referenced Instruction and TIES stands for Transition to Independence, Employment and Success. Parkdale’s CRI program has a total of 80 students and 23 staff members. The students stay in the program for 7 years until they reach the age of 21, and many of them who are 18-21 also work in the community. Some of the work sites include Marshalls, the University of Maryland, Greenbelt Public Works, Greenbelt Elementary School, and Parkdale. 

The Breakfast Cafe was not the first time CRI incorporated Parkdale staff and job skills into their learning. In December, the CRI students held a holiday gift shop where the students could purchase gifts with fake money.  (Read more about that event here!)

On February 21, since many people enjoyed the first, the CRI program held its second Breakfast Cafe.  And more could be on the way! 

“I would actually like to have another cafe” said junior Joseph Peete, a member of the CRI program.

Click through the gallery below to see all the fun that was had at the Breakfast Cafe!

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