Festive treats and holiday themed decorations sparkled around the Staff Development Room at Capistrano Unified School District Offices for the annual holiday boutique on November 22 and December 6.
For over 15 years, the holiday boutique has showcased handmade items by over 30 students in the Adult Transition Program (ATP) and Bridges Academic Program at Capistrano Unified School District.
ATP helps develop young adults with special needs into positive, productive and contributing members of society, and the Bridges Academic Program serves as a specialized therapeutic setting for high school students with severe emotional disabilities and various other special education qualifying disabilities.
The holiday boutique is a yearly special event for students. They enjoy and appreciate seeing people who are willing to give up their time and money to buy their items, said Clint Collins, Bridges Community Day High School principal. It provides the students with a sense of accomplishment.
“It’s great for the community to celebrate and recognize our programs and show all the wonderful things our students are able to do,” Collins said. “It’s a nice fundraiser for our students to put money they earned back into the program and fund field trips and extracurricular activities.”
ATP individuals prepared for the Holiday Boutique during the school year’s first semester, and Bridges students created items during their fine arts course. They made items such as ornaments, paperweights, lanyards and decorative trees out of different wood varieties.
The project provided students an opportunity to have fun making merchandise to sell to friends and family while learning new life and creativity skills. One hundred percent of the funds raised are directly returned into funds and activities supporting ATP and Bridges High School.
Veronica Hoggatt, who chairs the Special Education Community Advisory Committee (CAC), said the merchandise displays each student’s craftsmanship, and showcases their skills to CUSD staff and members of the community.
“I’m always telling people it’s the most delightful shopping experience you’ll have all season,” Hoggatt said. “You see all these young people who have made these wonderful crafts and interacting with others, and it’s just a beautiful scene.”