If you grab lunch at the Patchwork Café in Spalding Hall during the Festival of Quilts, chances are you will see a few of our Cunningham youth eager to serve in blue volunteer aprons.
These particular youth, like Raymond and Shawn, participate in Cunningham's Vocational Education Program. Many students begin their vocational training through on-campus opportunities. Working in the Patchwork Café gives Raymond and Shawn a taste of a real workplace experience by cleaning trays and tables, assisting with patrons' drinks and interacting with the festival patrons. Speaking of interacting, our youth may ask more than once, "Can I take your tray?" Or, you might be taking a bite of your last potato chip when you hear, "Are you finished yet?" (for the 2nd or 3rd time!)
What may seem like impatience is not. It is merely a sincere interest and intense desire to serve patrons during the Festival. It's the way our Cunningham youth give back during Festival to those who give so much to them throughout the year. It's the way for Raymond and Shawn to take steps towards self sufficiency.
With every question you hear, you are witnessing how hope begins here.
The Festival of Quilts