The Value of Feedback

Tasks such as using a knife, cooking on the stove, or buying groceries are routines we do without thinking. However, for students in our LEAP (Learn, Earn, and Prosper) program, these tasks require courage, practice, and trust. Through the ReSOURCE LEAP program for blind or visually impaired youth, Eric Smith started working in the Overlook Café in December 2017. During the next 18 months, Eric not only learned how to use kitchen equipment, he also learned how to receive feedback from others.
On Monday mornings, Eric runs errands for the café, including picking up milk orders and doing bank runs. Later in the day, he prepares food in the kitchen and makes sure products are fully stocked. He was recently given the opportunity to run the cash register for the first time. This was a milestone for Eric. Previously his stubbornness had caused doubts in his ability to be patient with customers. When asked how he changed his behaviors, Shelby Glass, the LEAP Program Assistant Manager simply said, “Feedback.”
At the Overlook Café, holding each other accountable is a philosophy that every staff member embraces. Shelby said, “We don’t let people slide on anything. Because we care about them, we want them to grow forward and accomplish their goals—challenge themselves to be better.”
For Eric, the café’s working environment enabled him to gain social skills and change his behaviors to follow through with directions and feedback. He said, “I am patient with customers. I try to hold my tongue.”
By interacting with customers on a day to day basis, Eric has improved his relationship with others. Peers from the LEAP Program joined in Eric’s housewarming party last week to celebrate his official move-in to a single apartment where he now lives independently and cooks for himself. While there are times he still needs assistance from staff, such as asking Shelby to show him how to use the laundry machine at the laundromat, the LEAP program nonetheless gives students with vision impairments the opportunity to grow and gain confidence in living on their own.

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What is Career Start?

Career Start is a program designed for high school students to gain hands-on experience and technical skills in various departments at ReSOURCE’s Burlington or Barre locations.

High school students enrolled in school are eligible to participate in the Career Start program.

The program provides hands-on experience in ReSOURCE departments, technical skills training, and monthly personal and professional development classes.

There is a fee of $1500, but tuition is waived for qualifying Vermonters.

Departments include Customer Service & Retail, Office Administration, Computers and Electronics, Overlook Cafe, and Large Appliances, among others.

Yes, students earn a monthly stipend

Training covers Health and Wellness, Goal Setting and Achievement, Leadership Development, Career Planning, and Financial Literacy.

Interested individuals should contact ReSOURCE’s Training and Development Manager, Susan Uthmann, for enrollment details.


Please contact:

Susan Uthmann
Training and Development Manager
[email protected]

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Our partners help us to provide $125,000 worth of goods to over 2,000 individuals/families in Chittenden, Lamoille, and Washington Counties, and the greater Vermont area.

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We make award decisions each December for the next calendar year and notify partners so our clients can request vouchers.

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