Planners Shari & Ebony welcome all to the Open House

The announcement read: “St Benedict Education Center Fall Open House!  See what’s going on at SBEC and discover opportunities!”  The invitation was offered to all current clients – and many responded.

Tuesday, October 18th, was the day.  Not since before the restrictions required by Covid have the halls of SBEC and Treasures & Such, the incentive store, contained such energy and activity --- plus the presence of so many people interacting with each other.  One of the staff planners, Shari Riley, shared: “Covid 19 has changed so much in the world…for all of us.  It was uplifting to see everyone!  All the participants seemed excited and interested.  Laughter and good cheer filled our halls once again!”

Why an Open House for participants who have already been associated with SBEC?  

This is a time of transition for many families, businesses, institutions, and agencies:  A move from remote connections to in-person presence and interaction.  SBEC has been working on successfully making this transition as well.  Interactions between participants and staff and awareness of and involvement with program offerings have been encouraged. 

Case Manager and planner Ebony Lindemann offered her vision for the day: “The purpose of the open house was to showcase the trainings, activities, and supports we have available for participants.  The open house was also intended to motivate and encourage participants to come into this space.  We wanted to relieve any fears or reservations participants may have by welcoming them into a caring, energetic, and motivated environment.”

Walking in the front door of SBEC offered quick evidence of the great amount of planning and work that went into making this special event so successful.    A theme was chosen for the day:  FALL.  Ebony shares, “We decorated the halls with Fall cheer so that we could encourage participants to take part in this new season of opportunities.  We had them tour the building, collecting information and resources along the way. Participants were awarded a leaf for each department they visited.  Those leaves then went into a drawing for a chance to win a gift basket.”
    
Various rooms throughout the building provided different types of information, resources, or services helpful to the clients.  Staff were able to introduce the new curriculums they have been developing to aid in practical job readiness skills.  Print resources and information was available to be taken.  Store information was explained, and available items were on display.  (See article on Treasures & Such page.)  Sign-ups for the annual coat/boots, blankets/comforters, and holiday toys giveaways took place.  Representatives from Dress for Success (clothing), Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC--child care), and Journey to a Trauma Informed Life (counseling service) were present to provide information.

Diane Catrabone, Support Person/Case Manager at SBEC reflects on the event: “I was hoping to promote the benefits of physically coming to SBEC for diverse scheduled activities, learn about community resources and feel individualized support.  More specifically, I aimed to highlight parenting support and get names of individuals interested in making the commitment to attend a 5-week parenting group.  I also wanted to inform clients that Journey to a Trauma Informed Life will have a regular presence in our building and get a feel for who can benefit from this upcoming connection.”

Judged by the interest and general good spirit exhibited by participants, the Open House was a success.  It seems accurate to say, without the support and help of the entire staff this could not have happened.  It was an “SBEC team” effort.  It offered an opportunity in this new season for the staff, as Program Director Stephanie Krauza said, “to come together and make an idea a fun day at SBEC! – something we all needed more than I think we realized.”

It does seem that “a new season of opportunities” could well have begun.  May it continue.