TCHS Brandywine SkillsUSA Students Partner with Handi-Crafters for Rewarding Day of Service

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Image via the Chester County Intermediate Unit.

TCHS Brandywine SkillsUSA students recently completed a day of service with Handi-Crafters in Thorndale as part of their annual American Spirit project.

Handi-Crafters operates one of the largest employment and disability-focused support service programs in southeastern Pennsylvania. Each year, Handi-Crafters helps more than 400 individuals access rewarding employment opportunities. This year, TCHS Brandywine SkillsUSA students partnered with Handi-Crafters to help give back to an organization that is making an impact in Chester County and beyond.

This year’s theme for SkillsUSA is “SkillsUSA: Champions at Work, Career-Ready Starts Here.” In order to choose a day of service to fit this theme, the American Spirit team for TCHS Brandywine SkillsUSA selected an organization focused on career readiness. The American Spirit team of Suzanna Angstadt, Marlen Alpizar Gonzalez, Alondra Lopez Garcia, and Stephanie Gonzales Rojas wanted to support an organization that has a goal of providing opportunities to workers of all abilities.

Angstadt saw the experience as being valuable because of how rewarding it was for the SkillsUSA students.

“I really enjoyed working alongside the employees at Handi-Crafters; they were all so kind, caring, and an inspiration to be around,” she said.

As part of their day of service, TCHS Brandywine SkillsUSA students toured the facilities, learned the history of the organization, and watched a demonstration of how Handi-Crafters helps people of all abilities engage in career-readiness. Students assisted with packing materials and interacting with the employees at Handi-Crafters. While many students had not previously known about Handi-Crafters, they left hoping to return.

“Living in the Coatesville Area School District, I never knew this organization was right in my backyard,” said Gonzales Rojas. “I was happy to learn about it and look forward to volunteering again.”

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of students, instructors, and industry experts that seek to develop the future skilled labor workforce in the U.S.

The purpose of the American Spirit project is to evaluate local SkillsUSA chapter activities for projects that emphasize community service, citizenship, and projects with patriotic overtones that demonstrate a belief in the American way of life.

The day of service project with Handi-Crafters will be submitted as part of the American Spirit project award competition at the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania State Conference on April 10.

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