From mock interviews to conversations about the different roles of associates in their stores, the Big Lots team made a BIG impact on our students. Practice makes perfect particularly in Communication for Life class, our social skills and conversation class designed specifically for individuals with Down syndrome. Furthermore, practice in new and unfamiliar settings with community members is the sweet spot of experiential learning for our students. Over the past year, Big Lots has financially supported the Communication for Life program, while also welcoming our students with open arms into both their stores and home office for these much needed learning opportunities. 

Learning about multiple roles from cashiers to stockroom associates to store managers, our students spoke to many members of the store team. Practicing their conversation skills while learning about the various roles in the store served a dual purpose of social skills practice while also adding to their knowledge about potential future job opportunities. 

Job interviews can be daunting without practice. One key topic within the Communication for Life program is professional communication. Our friends at Big Lots corporate headquarters hosted mock interviews for our students, allowing them to begin to feel comfortable and prepared for their own job interviews in the future. For the associates, this experience gave them an opportunity to learn about the amazing resumes of our students, and opened their minds to hiring those with Down syndrome. 

We are so grateful for the impact that our partners at Big Lots are making on our students, and are looking forward to watching our students take these skills into the community.