From hearts to hands

Transition to Life students make, sell gifts

Hannah Hansen, journalism student

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Gift bags. Magnets. Cards for any and every occasion. In a Courtyard near the Education Service Center is a shop that not a lot of people know about where customers can buy all this and more.

My favorite moment is when I see a student, who’s unable to provide for themselves, seal up a card or sell something for the first time, and they realize they have something of value to offer.”

— Nakia Patterson, transition to life teacher

Nakia Patterson works with the Transition to Life program in their store, Handmade Creations. The Transition to Life program is the 18+ program that helps those who have graduated from the Functional Academics in a Structured Environment class and may still need some additional skills for employment.

“It’s a training site so they can get some real world experience,” Patterson said. “It’s a student-led business where they can build their resumes.”

Handmade Creations is their business where the students make magnets, gifts and various greeting cards. The students design the products, put them together, package them and put them on the shelves of the store.

“My favorite moment is when I see a student, who’s unable to provide for themselves, seal up a card or sell something for the first time, and they realize they have something of value to offer,” Patterson said. “Their eyes light up when they see where they want to be in the end. They’re confident about themselves.” 

The purpose of Handmade Creations is to help students problem solve, learn how to handle money, make decisions and create interpersonal relationships.

“These students need to work and care for themselves for the same reasons that all of us do,” Keith Kirkpatrick, Achieve Academy assistant principal and district truancy coordinator, said. “It builds character, self-esteem and allows them to be productive members of the community,” 

Handmade Creations had its grand opening for the year Sept. 19. They are open to the public every Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon at 102B 300 Pirate Drive. 

The Transition to Life program is also currently planning on opening a cafe to help teach their students about the food and hospitality industry.

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