The morning job and skills program primarily serves post-graduates with varying intellectual and physical strengths. The lunch hour, social hour, and art program serve an additional population affording them a day of fulfilling programming and socialization when they might otherwise be home alone or with a single caregiver. The after school program serves individuals who are still in school but looking for something valuable to do with their time after school.
Our morning program opens with the business program launched in 2011 which provides vocational, social, and business skills training. We sell an extensive line of Greeting Cards designed by our participants in our art program that include a biography and photo on each card they design. The business program includes marketing, cataloging, sale tracking, and accounting for these cards (which also serve as a fundraiser). A grant allowed us to purchase a “Smart Board” (a computer driven, interactive white board) which gave us the tools to share techniques and lessons with non-verbal, non-ambulatory participants who would otherwise not be able to actively participate. The popularity of this program is strong, with an average of 4 to 8 individuals participating.
With so many engaging programs at ZP, our participants look forward to lunch hour and free time. They often bring their lunch and socialize, and more recently, we have started cooking classes in our new in-kind donated kitchen. We harvest and cook vegetables grown on our self tended plot at the nearby Billings Farm. We also host guest luncheons once a month for those who support us. From lunch we typically move onto art class, often with local artists visiting and instructing and which include many different mediums, such as painting, clay, drawing, sculpture, weaving, tie-dyeing, knitting, Paper Mache, and mosaics.
Our after school program includes yoga, dance, swimming, exercise, a Special Olympics Snow Shoe Team, horseback riding, skiing, canoeing, kayaking, music, and art. Our Theater Guild has performed several musicals at local venues and a sing-along at the Town Hall Theater. Special needs students from the local high school are bused to ZP on a daily basis so they too can enjoy the after school programs. Many others are driven privately from other schools in the area.
Our summer schedule includes weekly educational field trips to local farms and museums, and swim trips to the Upper Valley Aquatic Center, popular ponds, and Vermont State Parks. We attend weekly summer concerts on the Woodstock Green, and walks to local points of interest. Canoeing and horseback riding were two new additions to our programming last summer as we teamed up with the Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports organization, and this winter we will continue our adaptive ski program which was launched in January of 2012, and which is held at our local ski area, Suicide Six, where we are the guests of the Woodstock Inn and Resort with free lift passes and ski rentals.
As is evident, not only do our programs offer quality enrichment opportunities to the actual participants of ZP, but they offer family members and care givers respite from the ever present tasks that people with special needs require to maintain their health, educational skills, and emotional wellbeing. Our programs also bring the greater Woodstock and surrounding communities into the world of special needs through our volunteer programming, productions, and through our enhanced visibility as part of the community at large. THIS IS ZACK’S PLACE!!!!!!