BOOKSTORE & CAFE The bookstore and coffee shop will have entrances from both the Village and LifeTown’s main lobby, welcoming people from the community for their daily cup of coffee, to browse for the latest bestseller or conduct a short meeting. More than just a place to grab a cup of Joe or reading material, this shop will provide much-needed job training for young adults in the community in a safe and warm environment.
BANK:The first stop on a visit to Life Village will be to the bank. Each student will be given a fixed set of funds to make their way around the Village. The goal is to teach budgeting skills and encourage positive money management. Once participants use up their allotted funds, they will be able to earn more money by doing a job in one of the stores.
MOVIE THEATER: Visitors to the Village who want to take in a show will learn important lessons on budgeting their time and money in order to do so. Will they have enough time to see the show and make it to a job interview? If they buy a ticket, can they pay for their popcorn? Decisions such as these will be critical for individuals participating in the Village’s life-skills training. Additionally, the 50-seat theater will include a stage for performances, puppet shows and more, some of which will be put on by youngsters taking classes at the Dance and Music Studio in LifeTown’s Youth Center.
PET SHOP:Grooming, feeding and caring for animals will reinforce the importance of similar skills for individuals and provide another job-training opportunity for visitors to the Village. Spending time with animals has a soothing effect for people with special needs. Additionally, those with communication or socialization issues come alive when playing with a pet making this store a natural addition to the Village square.
COPY CENTER: With an entrance from the Village and from LifeTown’s main offices, the Copy Center will be abuzz with activity providing Village users with hands-on, job-skills acquisitions. By training at the Village Copy Center, participants will be able to show future employers they are ready to start working. Given that young adults with certain special needs often excel at jobs that include repetitive tasks, the Copy Center can help them hone those skills, thereby allowing them to be gainfully and successfully employed.
MEDICAL CENTER: For individuals affected by tactile sensory disorders and other special needs, going to the dentist or doctor can be a traumatic experience. Participants will learn how to set up an appointment and make sure they arrive at their allotted time. Students will practice sitting in a dental chair and getting their blood pressure taken, which will acclimate them to visiting medical professionals.
CROSSWALKS: Safely navigating a city’s streets, obeying traffic signals and learning who has the right of way are critical skills that will be reinforced for participants in Village program – as will the consequences for not following directions. Jaywalk because you’re running late? You’ll get a ticket and a pay a fine. Bikers in the way? Time to learn to share the road and make safety a priority.
HOBBY SHOP: Visitors to the Village can stop in and learn a new craft that can then be done on their own at home. Because of the social isolation and amount of time individuals with special needs spend alone, having a creative, fun and entertaining outlet like knitting, scrapbooking, etc., will allow them to spend their “alone time” engaged in a productive and creative endeavor.
Additional shops will include a bookstore, grocery store, clothing store, salon, laundromat, home-goods store, and office center. The Village will also feature an ice-cream stand, terrace, garden and other amenities found in real towns.