Every Friday morning special education students put on their red aprons and hit the halls of Rock Island High School.
They’re known as the “Rocky Grind” crew. They prepare and deliver coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to staff.
“The students have enjoyed the experience,” said Stacy Rel, a special education teacher.
The students are in the Functional program at the high school which focuses on independent living. The program teaches math, time, how to count money and give change, reading, community-based learning, and other basic life skills.
Rel was able to start the Rocky Grind started last school year thanks to a PRIME grant from the Rock Island - Milan Education Foundation.
The Rocky Grind helps the students learn some of those life skills. The students learn how to prepare drinks, kitchen safety, the importance of good hygiene, money skills, communication skills, and they even get to decorate the cup sleeves.
It also helps them learn their way around the high school, many of the students are freshmen.
“The students are lucky to have an opportunity like this that works on a variety of skills. They really enjoy the social aspect of it,” said Rel.
The money raised goes back into the program to buy supplies and is also used for the Functional program. Last year, with some of the money earned from selling beverages, Mrs. Rel was able to rent a van and take the students around to apply for jobs around the community.
Eventually Real wants to expand their services and start selling muffins too.