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Inspirations Articles

Summit students and Maimonides residents meet at the café

From left: Café employee Onder Doygun; Lisa Kasner, Maimonides development officer; Thomas Saviolidis, job integration specialist; and Inspirations’ podcast host Mark Bergman at the Ethel and Morty Fruchter Summit Café at the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre in May. Photo: M. Bergman
Montreal - Wednesday, December 7, 2022

by Anita Szabadi-Gottesman

The doors swing open promptly at 8:30 am at the Ethel and Morty Fruchter Summit Café at the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre. The crew of students from Summit School has been there since early morning prepping for the residents, caregivers and staff arriving to enjoy a cup of coffee, muffin or freshly made sandwich at the fully appointed café. 

Operational since March 2022, the café is part of the Transitional Educational Career Centre (TECC) program, run through the Summit School network and led by vice-principal, Josh Cunningham. It’s part of Summit School’s Work Skills Program, which serves 100 students between the ages of 16 and 21, propelling them to graduate from Summit and go on to work in various businesses throughout the greater Montreal community. “Working at the café is a unique opportunity for our students, providing a whole experience truly running a business from all aspects,” said Cunningham. “From stocking, prepping, serving and running the cash, our students learn to run a business from start to finish.”

Customers are enthusiastically greeted by the students alongside their Summit School job coaches, Cathy Perez and Thomas Saviolidis. “The program serves 11 students with three to four students working each day, Monday to Friday,” pointed out Cunningham. “While learning and acquiring a myriad of life skills, students are also completing stage hours and required competencies to graduate with a government certificate.”

For Cunningham and his team watching the students integrate into the Maimonides community, they witness relationships developing between the students, residents and staff. “The opportunity for our students to work at the café truly provides a whole overall experience while simultaneously building each participants’ confidence along the way.” 

Listen to our podcast on the Summit Café here: