I have finally decided on what I will be doing next year. After months of contemplating, visiting schools, and filling out applications I decided on which school I was going to attend for the next four years of my life. In total, I got into 11 colleges, but I decided on University of California Davis. I am going to pursue Elementary Education, and look forward to a career as a teacher. I believe that my major will be human development, although I am currently undeclared, and then I will hopefully go on to get my masters in Education. Working at Cedar’s has made me question whether I want to go into special education, although I am not quite positive, I think I am going to just stick with Elementary School. I am very excited to embark on a new experience at UC Davis, and I look forward to all the times to come!
For the past few months, we have been working on a movie with the clients at my internship. They help us film the movie and of course are the star of the entire thing. The movie is all about eating healthy and our specific garden and food programs at Cedar’s Art and Textile Center. We talk about what the clients do while working in the garden and kitchen and show clips of them hard at work. Then we show how the food from the garden goes directly to the kitchen where more clients cook it up for lunch. The end consists of funny clips of the clients, showing what an average day is like working with the fun, happy-go-lucky clients. This Wednesday we are premiering the movie to all of Cedar’s. We are showing it on a big projector and having popcorn and drinks. Everyone is so excited!
I have acquired many skills while working at Cedars for the past year. I am in charge of a lot of clients at once who are all striving to get my attention and impress me. I have learned how to give everyone equal attention. I learned how to avoid picking favorites, and the importance of including everyone. I learned a lot about teaching, and trying to explain things in their most simplistic form. I have learned about the value of patience, which is a must while working with adults with developmental disabilities. I have learned about encouraging perserverance, because a lot of times the clients get so frusturated that they want to give up, and I have to instill confidence in them. I have learned a lot about commuication, because most of my day spent at Cedars is trying to teach clients and help them with projects. Lastly, I have learned how to make connections with others who I would have probably never connected with if i didnt embark in my intership.
At Cedars, my mentor is very busy throughout the week. Each day, the staff members are assigned to work in a different program at the Cedar’s Art and Textile Program. There are a few different places that my mentor works. She works in the weaving center where clients make their own blankets, scarfs ext on a loom and they then sell the products in the Cedar’s store in down town San Anselmo. There is the kitchen, where you work with clients on cooking and cleaning. You even make lunch and a afternoon snack for the rest of the clients. Then there is the garden (where I work on Wed), where we teach the clients skills like eating healthy, planting vegetaboles, and teach them about living sustainabily in the classroom. Next there is the animals where you work with the clients feeding them, grooming them, and just enjoying their presence. There are many types of animals including sheep, alpacas, and rabbits. There is also the music center where clients sing, dance, and make music of their own. Then there is the Art center where clients do arts and crafts all day long. Lastly, there is the Senior Center (where I work on fridays) where the older clients spend their whole week doing arts and crafts, reading, and even enjoying their weekly game of wii bowling. Throughout my week, my mentor is in charge of about 30 clients at one of these programs, and all though she is very busy it is very rewarding in the end.
Throughout the duration of this cemester I have done many things for this class. I have stayed up to date with my senior job-Earth Day, including recently going to the DLC meeting, presesnting Earth Day to the staff, administrators, and parents and got it approved along with making it madatory for all kids to attend Earth Day during tutorial. I am still enjoying my internship a lot, and i discussed with my mentor when she would be available to meet with Mr. Marshall however we have yet to firm something up. It is a bit tricky because I am with two different groups of clients and two different mentors. They are also work in different parts of Cedar’s everyday and are only open untill 3 during the weekdays which is difficult to schedule a meeting. However I am planning on sending my mentor an email this week! I also need to make some progress on my portfolio. I moved most of my work onto the N-drive but have yet to put them on a CD. I know how to do that however, so I am planning on doing that soon!
I can remember the day John and I exchanged names and a few words outside of our town fire station. From then on stopping to have a small conversation and a warm hug seemed only natural. John is a client at Cedar’s Art and Textile center, a day program for adults with developmental disabilities. My chance engagement with John encouraged me to spend my senior year internship at Cedar’s twice a week. I find a way to connect with clients on a personal level through gardening, educational projects, working with them on communication and social skills, and teaching them daily tasks like cooking and cleaning. Though patience is key, I have never found myself frustrated or discouraged. Instead, people who remain optimistic in spite of so many challenges inspire me. Though sometimes it takes a lot of time to teach an adult at a kindergarten level the importance of healthy eating, or the correct way to plant an onion in the ground, it is always gratifying in the end when we succeed together.
The Cedar’s of Marin has thrived since 1919. There success stems from how they treat there clients – as individuals deserving of respect, personal choice, and the chance to develop interests, skills, and independence. There day program includes a structered work day integrating educational projects like reading, and learning about healthy foods, and performing daily tasks. They also strive to impart good, healthy relationships between the staff and the clients while working on communication and social skills. There are about 15 staff members at Cedar’s and a few volunteers. The process of becoming staff at Cedar’s is long and includes many interviews and sessions to make sure they are right for the job and right for working with adults with special needs. The organization at Cedar’s is extraordinary, and utterly awe-inspiring.