High school students, facility reap benefits of vocational training program at SNF

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The HOPE program provides vocational training to students with learning disabilities.
The HOPE program provides vocational training to students with learning disabilities.

It's not often that school buses drop off high school students at a nursing home, or that skilled nursing residents get to watch YouTube videos with young people while sharing stories from their past.

But through a vocational training program at a New York skilled nursing facility students and residents get to do just that — and the facility gets a jump on solving some of its staffing issues.

The HOPE program kicked off at The Hebrew Home at Riverdale in 1995, to give students with learning disabilities a chance to prepare for jobs — including possible positions at the facility — while injecting some youth into the facility. Twelve years later, the program is still going strong, CEO Daniel Reingold said in an Associated Press feature on Sunday.

“They are both isolated,” he said. “Older adults in this country are isolated, and young people with learning disabilities can be isolated.”

Students work on a variety of projects, from data entry to helping in the facility's salon and art studio. Some are also given the option to apply for a paid position at the facility, all while taking regular classes and tutoring sessions.

The program also offers residents a chance to interact with the younger generation through sharing music and stories.

“It's a history lesson,” Nick Kinas, the teacher who leads the 12-student program, told AP, “but it's a history lesson from someone who's living and breathing.”

Click here to read more about the HOPE program at The Hebrew Home.

Do you know of a brighter, lighter long-term care news item that is suitable for The Brighter Side? Email Staff Writer Emily Mongan at emily.mongan@mcknights.com.