Redmond Transition Students try a variety of work experiences

The old saying that experience is the best teacher holds true for transition students moving toward independent living. At Redmond Transition Services, students can experience working in two different student-supported businesses: the Heart in Hand Gift Basket business and the Potato Bar catering business.


Heart in Hand Gift Baskets

From small bath and body baskets to larger, themed collections, the Heart in Hand gift baskets offer affordable, high-quality gifts that anyone can purchase. All the proceeds from gift basket sales are reinvested into inventory and supplies. The goal of the business is to create ways to experience pre-employment skills in a retail environment.

Transition teacher Liz Worthington sees a lot of value in the experiences these businesses offer. “These businesses each have many roles that use different skills, so kids can try things and see what might be a good fit for them,” she explained. The Heart in Hand Gift Baskets need students to organize and straighten the inventory, students who can fill the baskets, wrap and tie the bows, manage basket sales, and prepare them for pickup or delivery. These steps allow many students to participate.

The gift baskets also create opportunities for collaboration with students outside the transition network. For example, a transition student created the logo, and worked with a student at the Redmond Proficiency Academy to digitize the drawing. The RPA student also has gained new work experiences by helping with the branding and marketing.

Mark Coreas, age 19, enjoys creating the baskets. He’s working toward a job unrelated to retail, but agrees that learning new skills is valuable. “I want to work at Les Schwab after I get my driver’s license,” Coreas explained. “But you never know what might happen, and I like to stay busy,” he added.

Basket descriptions and sales information are available on the Step Up Transition Center website.


Catered lunches with the Potato Bar

What makes a better lunch than a steaming baked potato with all the toppings? The Redmond transition students have brought their potato bar and their coffee cart to cater lunches for school-related meetings and clinics, and can bring it to offices or other gatherings as well. Catered events can happen during normal school hours.

Experience in food service can help transition students in two ways. First, they can decide whether they enjoy this type of work, and whether they want to pursue this path. Second, working at the Potato Bar and Coffee Cart teaches valuable pre-employment skills in food preparation and customer service.

To learn more about having the Potato Bar cater an event, contact Liz Worthington at Redmond Transition Services.