What a thank-you party! The boys and girls in Elmcrest’s EPIC program hosted an appreciation celebration for their Youth Development Professionals and Student Advocates. These children in EPIC (Education, Preparation, Involvement, Community) have faced major life challenges. They are motivated by EPIC to explore educational and work-related interests and learn about possibilities that value work can have on their lives. They have been employed in jobs on the Elmcrest campus.

Long before the actual celebration, these students began a major planning operation. They submitted a proposal to the Executive Director and with approval, began learning all the elements of hosting an event. And they created some unique and clever features for their teachers to enjoy.

The party began with colorful welcome thank-you posters indicating the many ways the staff could navigate the party. Music with a gratitude theme, a gratitude wall, raffles, sweets for sampling, coffees, cocoa, sodas, and surprise! Walking tacos? And another surprise… the party started at 4:00 AM! The students arranged with staff to accommodate overnight supervisors at shift change, so everyone could attend.

Hosting this Teacher Appreciation Party was the student’s way of saying thank you to the people who support them every day, no matter what they do. The teachers unanimously agreed that this was a very special event, and thanked the children in return, for such a creative and thoughtful celebration.

EPIC provides employment services to more than 30 children over the age of 14 who live on Elmcrest’s main campus. The children chose this opportunity to recognize the teachers who are dedicated to helping them find successful paths to the future.