Latham Centers prides itself in creating life-changing programs for our children with complex special needs, including Prader-Willi Syndrome, who call Latham home. Latham Centers’ staff make considerable efforts to prepare students at Latham School for life after graduation at 22 years of age. This involves coaching each student to be job-ready with skills including, but not limited to, craft making, horticulture, woodworking and soap making. Job readiness skills also include cash register abilities, sorting and assembly. Students in the Latham Works vocational program have truly excelled since the inception of this program and Latham Centers’ goal is to maintain 100% student employment.
In the horticulture program, students grow plants from seed, root cuttings, or purchase young ornamental plants to raise. Also, through Latham Centers’ relationships with local businesses, the students receive donated cut flowers, which they arrange and deliver around the Latham campus. Preparing and growing plants and flowers is an art form and allows students to explore their creativity. Moreover, students are stimulated by the colors, aromas, and textures of the flowers, while others are calmed through this sensory activity.
After purchasing pre-assembled wood items such as benches, shelves, and storage units, students (under staff supervision) sand, paint, and finish constructing each item in the Latham Works woodworking program. This program introduces tool safety and team work while encouraging student creativity, critical thinking and fine motor skills. Additionally, sanding and painting are very therapeutic types of sensory work as students smooth out rough surfaces.
Soapmaking: Naturals of Cape Cod
Soap making involves mixing the all-natural, sulfate free, goat’s milk soap liquid, pouring it in molds, selected by the students, extracting it from said molds when dry and then wrapping each individual soap for sale. Learning patience while experiencing creativity, soap making gains popularity over the holidays when staff and community-minded businesses purchase a variety of soaps for gifts.
For the holidays Latham students prepare by creating ornaments which emphasize their creative license. Whether an ornament spelling out a favorite phrase in Scrabble letters or a bulb filled with holiday goodies, Latham Works Holiday Ornaments are always crowd pleasers at the Latham Centers’ Annual Winter Craft Sale.
Rope Mats and Coasters
Students take long lengths of rope and weave them into intricate patterns; creating placemats, floor mats and coasters. Using templates to start, students enhance fine motor skills, while engaging in creative design. These projects involve patience and mastery, and are one of the newest vocational works programs.
Cleaning, mail sorting, and clerical work are new, and often paid vocational opportunities in the Latham Works program which allow for increased chances to improve social and fine motor skills. Off campus, students learn clerical work and other job skills at community-minded businesses such as the Orleans Bowling Center, and Rogers and Gray Insurance.
Latham Centers’ mission-centric volunteer program allows students to offer their skills at a variety of places ranging from animal care facilities to local churches and elder care facilities. Our residents continually give back to our community at locations such as Brewster Ladies’ Library, Housing Assistance Corporation and local churches including First Parish Brewster Unitarian Universalist Church.
Additionally, Latham students take pride in volunteering at animal care facilities such as the Animal Rescue League of Brewster, Emerald Hollow Farms, MSPCA Animal Shelter, Centerville New England Society for Abandoned Animals and Cape Wildlife Center. Animal care allows students to learn life skills, giving them an advantage in the workforce, while simultaneously reaping therapeutic benefits.
Interested in supporting the special needs community and purchasing your next gift for friends, family, or co-workers? Throughout the year Latham Works’ Job Coaches take soap, woodworking or craft orders. Whether stopping by the shop to see what the students have created to purchase or submitting a special order please contact 774.353.9264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.