TTW students assist Trinity Sports

TEAMWORK — Transition To Work students at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School are giving their time to fill snack bags for the Trinity Sports Buddy TEAM program through Trinity Health System. The students gather each month at Trinity P3 Sports Performance and fill 80 bags with Gatorade, trail mix and other nutritious treats to supply athletes in need of a healthy boost. Helping are, from left, TTW aide Dawn Pugh with students Elijah Fox, Ivana Virden, Ricky Burns and Nolan Granatir. -- Contributed

BLOOMINGDALE — Students in the Transition To Work program at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School are taking part in a new endeavor with Trinity Health System to help support fellow students.

TTW students will gather each month with officials at Trinity Health System to fill 80 sports bags with healthy treats through the Trinity Sports Buddy TEAM program, which is sponsored by TEAM Automotive and benefits students at Indian Creek and Steubenville high schools.

“There are 40 bags of healthy snacks for each school including Gatorade, trail mix and other snacks,” said Dawn Pugh, TTW aide. “The school administrators will hand them out.”

The group gathered for its first session Jan. 16 and prepared the bags in an assembly line format, while the students had them packed and ready within a half hour. Pete Messer, athletic trainer and strength conditioning coach for P3 Sports Performance, said JVS became involved through an affiliation with Pugh and the TTW students will normally visit the first Wednesday of each month to prepare more.

“Gennie Arbogast, who is the practice manager of sports medicine and orthopedics, contacted Dawn Pugh since they had the TTW program for kids to get job experience,” he said. “We take the bags to the school athletic directors to pass out to kids who need them. If the athletes can’t get home or don’t have the means to eat before games, they now receive healthy options.”

He said signs of low blood sugar could mimic those of a concussion, such as feeling dizzy or weak. If coaches press further and ask questions, they can learn the kids need sustenance and could provide the snacks to give them the energy they need to get through practice. Messer added that the program was made possible through a donation from TEAM Automotive that will maintain it for the rest of the school year; however, schools also are selling Trinity Sports Buddy TEAM wristbands as well as taking donations at games to provide further financial support.

“We’re trying to make the program more self-funded and have sold wristbands at the Creek-Big Red girls’ basketball game, and we will do the same at the Creek-Big Red boys’ basketball game on Tuesday,” he said as he encouraged the public to come support the teams and the program.

TTW Instructor Christina Henderson said the students’ involvement also gives them job experience. Students already work with eight sites and have an opportunity to collaborate with three more. In addition to assisting Trinity Health System, they clean the teacher’s lounge and operate a school store at JVS and also work with Gold Star Kennel in Cadiz, Zalenski’s Restaurant in Wintersville, Kroger Food Stores and Vaccaro Field. The TTW program includes 12 pupils and some also participate in additional labs at school, such as power mechanics and auto service technology. Henderson thanked instructors Fred Jones and Ron Reasoner for working with the youth and giving them extra knowledge to earn gainful employment in the future. “They learn basic job skills and it coincides with the transition plans of their individual education plans,” said Henderson. “The whole goal is to have a job by the time they leave us and they also work with the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.”

She continued that the more job skills they have by the time they leave school, the more advantages they have to work in the community and lead independent lives.

“The idea is to make them independent, productive members of society,” she concluded.