Life skills program created by Lindale student develops skills necessary to become employable after graduation

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 6:58 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:07 PM CDT
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LINDALE, Texas (KLTV) - Lindale High School junior Lauren Van Andel is taking matters into her own hands to help her classmates.

Van Andel started Lindale ISD Occupational Outreach Program, (LOOP) to provide an opportunity for Life Skills students to gain hands on experiences at Lindale businesses. LOOP opens the doors for students to develop skills necessary to become employable after graduation from setting tables, to folding pizza boxes, and everything in between.

“Then they already have the skills needed to really create a strong becoming employee for these businesses,” Van Andel said.

“To make sure that they can have the ability to be successful in and beyond the classroom is important because they are exceptional kids,” Lindale High School Special Education Department Head Stacie Wheeler said.

Van Andel said she has volunteered at her church in the special needs community room since 6th grade. Now, she launched this program with Lindale ISD and Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Our next generation is really thinking not only about themselves but they’re thinking about their fellow students that maybe has different needs than they do,” president and CEO of Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce Shelbie Glover said.

Van Andel has been working on this project since 2019, and recognized the need for it not only for the students, but also for the businesses.

“She saw last year with all the help wanted signs that there is a need for students in the community,” Glover said.

Businesses interested in the program can contact Lindale ISD or Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce.

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