Friday, March 5, 2010

Life Skills training needed

At last evening's Transitional Youth Work Group meeting at the McHenry County Mental Health Board offices, a small group (where was everyone???) discussed the usefulness of a strong life skills training program for youth and young adults in our county.

A "Life Skills 101" is offered through Family Service in McHenry, and it includes budgeting and skill-building for living independently. Mary Lu Seidel discussed the transitional, affordable housing that will be available through CAMHCO.

I questioned whether youth today are learning how to live on their own; i.e., not just to talk about it, but to actually acquire the skills needed to live independently: shopping, budgeting, paying rent and utilities on time, buying food and rationing it through the week, preparing meals and cleaning up, housekeeping, not destroying rental property, etc.

High schools in McHenry County are to offer transition programs for special education students between the ages of 18-21. These programs are to prepare our young adults to make a smooth transition from high school to the next step in their lives, whether it's college, junior college, military, work or whatever.

One such high school program offers an occasional cooking class for its students. Today's menu? Macaroni and cheese. And hot dogs.

So much for teaching the kids to prepare nutritious meals, eh? Now, will somebody please tell me the redeeming educational value is opening a box and dumping contents into boiling water? Or nuking a hot dog?

There are several ways to cook a hot dog. You can boil it. You can slice and fry it. Or you can do it my way. Open the bun, put on the dog, wrap it in a paper towel and stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds. Add mustard and eat.

By the way, I haven't had a hot dog since August. Not that I don't think about having one...

Oh, yes. The clean-up? Throw away the paper towel.

I wonder if they are taught to put very hot soapy water in the mac & cheese pan, so that it can soak while they are eating the mac & cheese. That'll make clean-up very easy.

But where is the instruction for preparing a nutritious, balanced meal?

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