School store helps students with special needs develop life skills

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Monday, August 14, 2023
School store helps students with special needs develop life skills
A team of compassionate teachers created a special store to show off their students' amazing abilities.

BROOMALL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Although our students may seem different than what's the social norm, they enjoy life just like we enjoy life and they want to be part of the community just as we are," said Nicole Campbell.

Campbell followed her childhood passions and became a teacher of students with special needs. Now, she works as a transition life skills teacher at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU) Marple Education Center (MEC).

MEC serves students ages 5-21 in Delaware County who require special needs outside of a typical classroom setting.

"So a few years ago, I worked with some previous teachers to secure grants, including one of our own, the DCIU Education Foundation, to open 85 North Cafe, which is our school store," said Campbell.

The school store is open to fellow students and faculty and serves chips, soda, and candy alongside important life skills. Students interact with customers, exchange money, restock goods, and more.

Their hope is that, when students age out of the program at 21 years old, they will be prepared for whichever direction their lives take.

"Opportunities are limited and some of our students don't pursue that traditional path of life, going to college or pursuing a career," said Campbell. "But whether it is volunteer work or moving out and getting their own place, or different adult day programs and home community supports, there's so many different things out there that they might pursue."

To see the students in action and learn why the teachers continue to support them in meaningful ways, watch our video above.

To learn more about the Delaware County Intermediate Unit or the Marple Education Center, visit their websites.

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"I call this place my second home," said Lyle Sine. "They gave me the initiative to go out and be independent."