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News and Events

Fridley work program students assist in community service project: Candy For Troops, Books For Kids
Posted 11/22/2018 04:00PM

A couple of Fridley High School’s work program students met a unique challenge this October: turning Halloween candy into books.

Lucas Antil and Nicholas Knapton created their own magic while helping Fairview Clinics prepare for its annual Halloween Candy Exchange drive.  Children could drop off the candy they received while trick or treating and pick out a new book on trade.  The candy was then shipped to those serving in the United States military overseas through the Yellow Ribbon Network.

Antil and Knapton processed over 3,600 books ahead of Halloween, sorting and labeling the books by age category, then boxing and shipping them to individual clinics. 

Julie Abear, Fairview Reach Out and Read Coordinator, was impressed at how much the two Fridley students achieved.  “There would not be books on those tables; there would not be books at those clinics without those two,” she said.

“Lucas and Nick worked so hard.  I had to practically beg them to take breaks.  They were the best workers I’ve had on the Halloween program.”

The mission of Fridley’s work program is to give students ages 14-21 the opportunity to gain employment skills in preparation for the competitive work force.  Students can work either within the district or with outside businesses.  A job coach trains them on specific skills for the tasks they are assigned. 

Knapton has learned many skills during his time in the work program, but creating a strong work ethic tops his list.  “I always come into Fairview with a positive attitude,” he said.  “Some days I get so motivated, I just keep on going.  One time I went straight through, no break.”

Knapton currently has applications in throughout the area, including with Discount Tires to go along with auto mechanic courses he’s taking.  Antil is also applying at various local businesses.

This was the first year Fridley students took part in the Fairview work program.  The work will continue, as Fairview gives books to children throughout the year.

Alissa Blood, their work program teacher at Fridley High School, is pleased with the first time venture with Fairview.  “Julie Abear told me they were never as ready as they were this time because of these two,” Blood said.  “This is a confidence booster.  ‘I can go somewhere, I can do a job.’  If you haven’t experienced that success yet, that’s a big moment.”

One of the many positives that came from the project is in the way of a job reference for future employment.  Abear made it clear she would attest to the quality of work Antil and Knapton performed.  “They have wonderful futures because they have a wonderful school,” she said.  “They are exceptional workers, and their teacher, Ms. Blood, is so awesome.”

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