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PUSD WorkAbility Students Gaining Life Skills at New Leaf Community Markets

Original post made by Patti Bond, another community, on Dec 4, 2014

Two WorkAbility students from the Pleasanton Unified School District report to work once a week at the New Leaf Community Markets in the Vintage Hills Shopping Center. WorkAbility I (WAI) is a comprehensive, life skills education program operating in Pleasanton Unified School District, Dublin Unified School District and San Ramon Valley School District. Each WAI program is funded by an annual grant from the state of California that promotes independent living and supports students in the transition from school to work/career and daily living as an adult.

An important part of the WAI curriculum for students ages 16 – 22 is real work experience. Students typically start by working one to two hours at one job site over the course of the year. They are closely supervised by an employment training specialist, a school district employee, who assists them as they master the necessary job tasks. Some students work at more than one job site each week depending on their age, ability and class schedule. Students who continue to be enrolled in the Pleasanton Unified School District until they reach the age of 22 years can work four days per week. Students receive minimum wage paid by the grant.

“It is my pleasure to witness the strides that students make as they develop skills and progress in the program,” said Jacquelyne Barker, WorkAbility Program Coordinator for the Pleasanton Unified School District. “We are fortunate to work with wonderful businesses such as New Leaf Community Markets who provide an environment that allows students to grow and transition to life outside of high school,” she added.

“We are happy to have the two students helping in the store. They are learning to do simple but useful tasks that our employees normally do, like re-stocking the cold drinks and keeping shelves in the produce department clean,” said Cyndi Adoff, New Leaf’s assistant store manager. “The New Leaf staff are very welcoming and have gone out of their way to see that the students are having a productive experience. It’s a real win win,” said Paige Giglio, the students’ employment training specialist. Giglio says what the kids are learning how to get from one place to another safely, what having a job means, being a team player, interacting with others and making the effort to complete tasks well. They feel a sense of accomplishment with a job well done,” she added.

New Leaf Community Markets and 12 other organizations in the area support the WorkAbility program this school year: JoAnn Fabrics, Walgreens, Cost Plus World Market, Target, TJ Maxx, Callippe Preserve Golf Course, Pleasanton Golf Center, Pleasanton Senior Center, Club Sport of Pleasanton, Handles Gastro Pub, Valley Humane Society and Pleasanton Alvisio Adobe.

Businesses that are interested in being a worksite for the WorkAbility program can learn more by calling Jacquelyne Barker at 925-462-5500 ext 4112, or sending an email to

About New Leaf Community Markets
A natural grocery store with eight locations including the Vintage Hills Shopping Center at 3550 Bernal Ave, Pleasanton, New Leaf has been serving the community for 29 years. New Leaf is committed to offering customers choices that have the most beneficial impact on their health and the health of the environment. Helping customers make informed decisions is an integral part of this commitment. New Leaf’s mission, to nourish and sustain our community, is reflected in the 10 percent of profits given annually to support local nonprofits working to improve the quality of life. Web Link


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