Students gets hands-on experience at Windsor Athletic Club

Lead Teacher Tyrone Burston, Head Teacher Emily Chepiga, and Martin Whitfield, General Manager & Director of Operations of the Windsor Athletic Club, with Eden School students.

For many high school students at the Eden School, some of their lessons take place outside the classroom. Once a week students go to the Windsor Athletic Club with their job coaches to practice skills they can use in the workforce.

“They can bring the skills they learn at Windsor Athletic Club into the workforce once they graduate,” said Tyrone Burston, Lead Teacher of Transition to Employment. “It’s an ideal venue for students because of the wide variety of tasks that they can accomplish here.”

The Windsor Athletic Club is an inclusive sports and cultural complex that offers a wide variety of amenities, programs, activities, cultural festivals and other special events to enrich and better the community.

Students work in all areas of the venue including setting up the conference area for different events, cleaning equipment in the gym, dusting and vacuuming, and dry mopping the floors, among other job skills. Working on multiple skills in one location helps students prepare for a wider variety of jobs. “Ultimately, we want our students to get out there and be able to work as much as possible,” said Tyrone. “There’s so much here for our students to be able to do and learn in real time.”

Each student works on different skills based on their individual program. A job coach collaborates with teachers and the staff at the Windsor Athletic Club to match what needs to be done with what each student can accomplish. 

Martin Whitfield, General Manager & Director of Operations of the Windsor Athletic Club, enjoys any opportunity to collaborate with the community. 

“Having Eden Autism is another way for us to help out the community,” said Martin. “It’s not just about coming in here for a gym membership, that’s only a small part of the business. We’re a cultural, recreation and enrichment center. Eden’s students help us out tremendously.”

The partnership between Eden and the Windsor Athletic Club is not only beneficial for both parties, but for the entire community. The work done by students helps the Windsor Athletic Club better serve the community, and the opportunity to practice skills in a real-world setting helps prepare students for future employers. “It’s a wonderful collaboration,” said Tyrone.