'Coffee Cart Friday' program teaches lessons to Crown Point students with disabilities

CROWN POINT, Ind. (WLS) -- A new program that delivers coffee, hot chocolate and tea to teachers at a Crown Point elementary school aims to teach life lessons with students with disabilities.

Fourteen of students operate the "Coffee Cart Friday" program at Jerry Ross Elementary School started at the beginning of the year and has brought together the whole school.

"We wanted to get them out of the classroom," said Jennifer Ciochina, a special education teacher who came up with the concept.

The idea that was quickly accepted by students and staff.

"It was probably two months from the time (Ciochina) had the idea that we began to implement it. Everybody was supportive. The parents of the students, the staff, it caught on very quickly," said Jennifer Stolarz, principal of Jerry Ross Elementary School. "It gives the students the chance to see children of all different abilities."

Students set up at rotating stations within the classroom to tackle different tasks. Starting with reading the orders all the way to getting the cart loaded and ready to go.

"They are learning social skills, money concepts, reading comprehension. They are learning how to communicate and it's enhancing their communication as a whole," Ciochina said.

Students make their rounds of deliveries and are greeted with a warm welcome from teachers and students.

For some students, Friday is their favorite day because it's the end of the week but for some of Ciochina's students, it's because they do coffee cart.

Ciochina hopes the popularity of the program continues to grow and to start letting parents come in and see their kids in action on "Coffee Cart Friday."
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