Busy Bees showcase hand-made creations

McAdory High School student Thomas Williams shows off an item made by the school's Busy Bees club during a Feb. 2 visit to the Pelham Senior Center. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A group of McAdory High School students showed off everything from handmade key chains to scarves made out of T-shirts during a Feb. 2 visit to the Pelham Senior Center.

The McAdory Busy Bees, an organization designed to develop special-needs students’ business, marketing and creativity skills, visited with Pelham’s seniors to show off their plethora of handmade items and explain how many of the items were made.

Through the Busy Bees organization, the students use everyday items such as old buttons, hula hoops and T-shirts to create a wide range of goods. The kids then market the items and sell them to benefit the school.

Everything the Busy Bees create is made out of donated or found items, and many of the designs for the items were developed by the students.

“They’re not just learning arts and crafts. They’re learning that it’s important to cooperate, how to market the things they make and even how to clean up after they are done,” said Barbara Cook, a sign language interpreter at McAdory High School. “We get them to try everything and see what fits for them.”

Cook said the program helps improve the students’ job skills and gives them a better chance at finding a job after they graduate.

“We try to focus on their abilities instead of their disabilities,” Cook said.

McAdory High School exceptional education teacher Meredith Snow said the Busy Bees program serves as a job skills training program for the kids.

“We look at it not only as arts and crafts, but as them developing a job skill,” Snow said. “They are building skills that will benefit them in the long run.”

During the group’s visit to Pelham, the students spoke to a group of about 50 seniors. After the presentation, several seniors purchased items from the Busy Bees and asked how they could donate items to the Busy Bees to use in future projects.

“This is part of our inter-generational program,” said Senior Center Director Barbara Roberts. “We are trying to bring in different age groups so the different generations can learn from each other and help each other.”