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Creation Station puts transition students to work
Avery Jackson vacuumed.

Christina Aquinde ironed.

Mercedes Cano and Rosa Cruz painted Christmas decorations.

Jackson, Aquinde, Cano and Cruz receive valuable vocational training each week while working at the Creation Station, a non-profit gift store located at 2600 Mitchell Road, Ceres.

They're enrolled in the Ceres Unified School District Special Education Department's Leaps & Bounds adult transition program.

"It's pretty unique because it's regionalized," said Libby Holmes, a program specialist for CUSD Student Services. "We have other kids coming in from other districts."

The Leaps & Bounds program currently serves a dozen special-needs students aged 18-22.

Participants are from Ceres, Hughson, Waterford, Riverbank, Oakdale, Patterson and Newman.

"I mostly iron and paint," said Aquinde, a fourth-year student. "I like ironing the most."

Other responsibilities include working the cash register, doing inventory, cleaning windows and dusting shelves and racks.

"We're trying to provide them with some skills that can be used after they leave high school," said Jason Perry, a third-year vocational education teacher for CUSD. "They also get an opportunity to deal with people. That's important."

Glenda Bacca, CUSD's director of Special Education, founded the Leaps & Bounds Creation Station four years ago.

The store sells items made by students, including colorful wreaths and seasonal decorations. Cruz and Cano finished working on miniature wooden sleighs last week.

"A lot of the business they get is when they bring their stuff to the district office," Holmes said. "It always sells. It's really cute."

Creation Station is open weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.