Have a wonderful fall weekend!

Disability Mentoring Day 2017 – Pratt

Last week, and the weeks leading up to it, have been quite busy for myself and the Pratt PILR Office Staff. On October 24th PILR hosted Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) at the United Methodist Church in Pratt. It was an amazing day! We started out the morning with registration and breakfast for the students- delicious cinnamon rolls from Wheatland Café in Hudson, Kansas, you should check them out!

After breakfast, we had the students break up into groups and go to their assigned employers for 2 hours. This is a chance for employers to get to know potential employees, as well as get a little more involved with disability awareness. It also gives the students a chance to meet potential employers, and decide if that specific experience is something they want to pursue in the future. This is their favorite part of the day! We had a total of 40 businesses in Pratt that were willing to open their doors and give their time to DMD students this year and 107 students registered to pair up with their specific interests. 97 students were able to attend the day of the event.

After their mentoring sessions, students came back to the church where we assembled everyone around and on top of a Pratt Fire Department Truck for a big group photo and then went in for lunch. This year National Beef of Dodge City donated hamburger patties for the students’ lunches. After lunch, the Peoples Bank hands out door prizes and has some fun trivia and activities for the students. We always try to have an afternoon speaker for the students. This year we were lucky enough to get Joe Steffy, who is the owner of Poppin’ Joe’s Kettle Korn right here in Kansas!

Joe was born with Down Syndrome and later diagnosed with Autism. He fought through all doubts from others and is now a successful business owner of his own popcorn business. His story was inspiring and he even received some standing ovations from the students and teachers. It gives students a chance to see others’ success, even against some pretty steep odds. We finished the day with a few more door prizes and thank you’s to all involved.

I would say it was a very successful year. This time of the year is always hectic for me and it sure brings a lot of stress, but it is totally worth it and I can’t wait to start again next year!

-Tasha K.