Hands on at Edison with Rita Gaither

Hands on at Edison with Rita Gaither
rita 1

Photo: Rita Gaither

• January 9, 2015

Today I was invited to Dr. Rita Gaither’s and Staci Feola-Elbadry Food and Nutrition Class at Edison where, to my delight, we made blueberry loaf bread. Gaither and Feola-Elbadry’s program, the first of its kind in the District, is not like other somewhat similar Home and Career classes.

The Program serves a special group of students who are considered within the New York State Alternate Assessment framework (about 1 percent of the District’s population). Food and Nutrition education are only one part of the Program which also focuses on life skills, independent living, self-sufficiency and attainable occupational goals.

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Photo provided by Rita

After having been out of the classroom for over twenty years, Gaither and Feola-Elbadry were recruited to get the new initiative off the ground, for this year and beyond. And, Gaither has thrown herself into it with the same zeal she shows in her other community activism, including Pearl Ministries Inc. (a 501 c3 non-profit) which she founded.

This year alone the class has been involved in multiple community activities: holding a Thanksgiving dinner at the Flint Street Rec Center, assisted a ninety three year old woman pay her RG&E bill, visited an elderly woman who had heart surgery, worked with pregnant or parenting teams in the Pathways to Success Program, collected items for newcomers from all over the world, and participated in three bereavement activities for local youth and community members. They also went on the Mayor’s clergy walk and acted as the Mayor’s ambassador by passing out recreation and job literature.

In September, Gaither did not know what to expect, especially since she is not Special Education certified. Now, about four months later she considers what the class has accomplished for themselves, their families and their community to be the “most profound and rewarding experience of my extensive educational career.”

bluberry loaf

Photo provided by Rita

And the bread was delicious.

SEE ALSO

Reflecting on the 1960 Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins at Robert Brown High School

A gathering of students, educators, urban farmers and social entrepreneurs at the Bay Street Community Garden

About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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