Exploring opportunities in the hospitality industry for individuals with special needs.
If you’ve been following The Owl House Blog Post, you’d know that The Owl House focuses on imparting interest and skill-based vocational training to our adult trainees. We engage the individuals that come to us for our day program in work-like settings hosted on our premises for a learning experience in a safe environment. As a part of The Owl House hospitality training program, we have specially designed curricula based on the interests of our individual trainees where they learn and develop professional skills that can be easily translated to other set-ups.
Our trainees get hands-on training in everything from setting up tables and chairs, customer service, cafe service and management, and all other responsibilities that come with running a cafe, including building up on personal and professional skills, including valuable interpersonal skills. We picked a vocation like cafe service and management considering the universality of the skills that can be learnt here and the fact that anything food related is a highly rewarding experience in itself. Moreover, Goa being a tourism hub has tonnes of tiny cafes all over the state that could potentially employ some of our very talented students in the future.
For the Culinary Skills training sessions, our trainees work in small groups with mentors and Owl House facilitators. Each session is designed to teach them about different aspects of cooking, from hygiene practices to getting acquainted with various common ingredients, how they taste, and where to find them in the kitchen, and identifying and locating utensils and tools that would be required. The Owl House kitchen is equipped with visual cues indicating the contents of different cabinets, easy-to-use tools like labelled measuring cups, a bread maker, etc.
For individuals with special needs, simplicity of instructions and repetition of an activity is key in mastering a skill. Recipes with easy to procure, familiar ingredients are chosen such that with enough practice, they are able to replicate these on their own. Although individual level of skill and goals may vary, our sessions aim to teach valuable skills in everyday life. For eg. the use of fine and gross motor skills in tying the apron, chopping, whisking, measuring; social and communication skills in following instructions, waiting for your turn, working as part of a team, delegating tasks to peers - the individuals as a group are responsible for everything from setting up for the culinary session to post session clean-up. Most importantly they are engaged in rewarding and adult like activities with peers, much like college.
If you’ve been following us, you all will also know about Ecoposro our first skill space imparting universal skills required to manage a small store. The Better Futures for Everyone program is now working on something new - A Cafe! Last week we had our first pop up lunch where in 5 lucky individuals from the community were invited to sample some delicious food made and served by student participants at The Owl House.
We even conducted an extremely exciting culinary competition that had restaurant owners Belinda Braganza from 7 Short 1 Long and Oswin Pinto from Hog Worth play the role of judges for an afternoon. Watch the video to get a sneak peek of the Little Chefs Contest at The Owl House.