Summer in Foley, Alabama is a wonderful time of year, but for the Foley Sports Tourism (FST) staff, even though there’s a packed calendar, it’s just a little too quiet.
Four days a week during the school year students from the Foley High School Transition I & II classes and the Community Based Instruction class head to Foley Sports Tourism to help out. It’s a relationship that has changed the lives of all involved.
Transition Class I & II Teacher, Jasmine Rush-Prim said the class is aimed at teaching students life skills, job skills, and social skills through community-based work.
“We hope that students learn basic skills needed to be successful in a job once they transition out of high school and into the world of work,” Rush- Prim explained. “Some students we have may never be able to hold down a paying job, for various reasons, but we hope that they at least learn life skills and social skills that they can take with them so life, in general, can be a little easier to navigate.”
In August of 2017 the class came to the Foley Event Center where they assist in the setup and clean-up of events and the staff of FST were changed forever. The moment the kids arrive everyone in the building knows it and it’s hard to spot a staff member without a smile on their face.
Whether moving chairs, tables, and carpet, or cleaning bathrooms, the kids bring a spirit to their work unlike any other, said Building Supervisor Jeff Ryan. Ryan has been the FST point person in working with the Transitions Class. Large in stature, one might think Ryan can be an intimidating figure, however, each and every kid in the Transitions Class knows Mr. Jeff is really a softie.
“These kids are amazing,” Ryan said. “They brighten our days with their energy and enthusiasm. They can move hundreds of chairs and still have the desire to race each other across the playing floor. But it’s more than just the help they provide. It’s their attitude and the way the genuinely care about our team. Having the Transitions Class here doesn’t just make us better workers, it makes us better people.”
Rush-Prim said the feeling is mutual.
“The kids impatiently wait for the bus to arrive every morning and run out of the door to load up,” Rush-Prim said. “They love coming to see their friends at FST and even though they know they have to work hard while they’re there, they have a lot of fun in the process and they feel truly loved by the FST staff.”
The students of the FHS Transition Class have quickly become part of the FST family. But unlike the kids currently enjoying summer break, the staff at FST is patiently counting down the days until school starts again and their family is reunited.