Skip to the content

Nonprofits Come Together to Provide Employment Opportunities

Nonprofits Come Together to Provide Employment Opportunities

by John Paul II Center for Special Learning

Two Berks County nonprofits are coming together this summer to provide a new employment opportunity for students and adults with developmental disabilities. John Paul II Center for Special Learning (JPII), Shillington, will be operating the snack bar at the Maple Springs Pool, Birdsboro, which extends JPII’s Work Experience program into the summer as part of its Extended School Year Program.

“Throughout the school year, we work with students to build their skill set for possible employment after graduation,” explained Rene Berkhammer, JPII Transition Coordinator. “This new venture provides our students and graduates with the opportunity to run a small business in a very limited and controlled environment.”

Beginning June 10, JPII’s Splash Pad will operate from 12-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, as a JPII Center Transition Summer Work Site. While JPII job coaches are there for support and to supervise, the students and graduates will run the snack bar during their shifts.

“This new partnership allows us to revitalize our snack bar while providing a training opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities,” said Austin Peterson, Maple Springs Pool Board President. “Even though we’ve never done this before, we’re excited to work with JPII because we know it will be successful.”

“Our students and graduates will be the face of the business. They will work with real money, hone their social skills, take inventory, learn about profit and loss in addition to preparing the food,” shared Berkhammer.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to spread acceptance and awareness of individual differences,” she continued. “We are grateful to the Maple Springs Pool for investing in our students and graduates. This site is the first step toward our students and graduates finding meaningful employment.”

Located in Shillington, the John Paul II Center for Special Learning encourages children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to explore their purpose and reach for goals through unique special education and social programming.

The Maple Springs Community Swimming Pool is located along SR345 in Birdsboro and has been serving the community since the late 1950s. It is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For more information, please contact Austin Peterson at [email protected].