Pathways project starts career closet, seeking donations

In 2011, the Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 began the Pathways Program at Coon Rapids Family Place Mall. The vocational skills technical program helps students with special needs build independent and competitive work skills.

The Pathways students have been supporting district staff and families through managing a food shelf and clothing donations for the Family Welcome Center and schools that make requests.

While all of Anoka-Hennepin’s high schools have food shelves, only half of the middles schools and only one of the 24 elementary schools offer this service to families.

Through managing the food shelf and clothing donations, Pathways students are not only gaining work experience, but also serving the community.

New this fall at the program is the Pathways Career Closet (PCC).

The PCC will provide Anoka-Hennepin student job seekers with new or gently used professional clothing, accessories and personal care items suitable for job interviews and continuing success in the workplace.

The PCC will also provide training opportunities and resume and job seeking assistance.

PCC works with business and community partners to help provide students with job opportunities on completion of their training.

Donations are being sought for the PCC. Pathways staff are seeking:

• New or “gently used” professional and business casual clothing suitable for the 15-21-year-old worker seeking to obtain and maintain employment.

• Accessories such as scarves, jewelry, purses, ties, watches and belts suitable for the workplace.

• New undergarments and personal care items.

• Casual khaki pants, light colored button down shirts and scrubs.

• Dress shoes and dark-non-skid shoes.

• Clear plastic shirt and skirt/pants hangers with metal swivel hook.

Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Pathways.

The program is located in the Coon Rapids Family Place Mall, 11238 Crooked Lake Blvd. in Coon Rapids. Pathways also continues to seek donations to its food shelf. The items most in need at this point are:

• Canned meats

• Canned fruit

• Boxed dinners

• Soups

• Peanut butter

• Rice

• Diapers

• Wipes

• Soap

• Deodorant

• Shampoo/conditioner

• Toilet paper

• Laundry detergent

• Can openers

• Granola bars

• Cereal

• Gift cards to Target, Wal-Mart, grocery stores and gas stations As with the PCC, donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Pathways.

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