Donna Byers, teacher of the Intermediate Life Skills class at Louis B. Russell Jr. School 48, uses the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable snack program at the school to teach her class important vocational and academic skills. Students in the class unpack and distribute the snacks to the rest of the school. Alexis Bellamy, a 6th grade student with Down syndrome in Mrs. Byers’ class, has really taken to the program.

Mrs. Byers said, “She’s really picked up on it and responded to it.” Alexis likes working with her hands and moving, so this job is perfect for her. She has to count out the snacks by class, pack the snacks in a bag and number the bags by class. She then delivers to each class by maneuvering a cart through the school and matching the bag number to the class number.

Mrs. Byers said the activity works Alexis’s fine motor skills and teaches her job skills and number sense, all of which she’ll need to be more independent as she grows. And Alexis loves it. “It’s fun,” she said.

Mrs. Byers has seen a change in Alexis’s confidence level and willingness to try new things since they started this program. The shy Alexis is coming out of her shell. She wants to do the job herself. And she wants to lead. She often shows other students working with her just what to do.

At Louis B. Russell Jr., Alexis Bellamy is proof that good nutrition isn’t the only benefit coming from the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable snack program. Alexis has found new skills and new confidence. Indianapolis Public Schools is proud of the work she and her classmates are doing for their school!