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Lighthouse Vocational Training

Photo: Cooking class - making an almond cake.

The Lighthouse, located in the Tian Xin District of Changsha, is a building owned by ICC and over the years has served various purposes. With the expansion of our Family Partners Program (FPP), the Lighthouse is now our FPP headquarters which includes therapy, music and conference rooms along with a vocational training and office space for our FPP staff and care teams. The Lighthouse is a beacon to the community as it serves as the hub for outreach to families whose child or youth has a disability. Youth in ICC’s care also utilize the Lighthouse for Vocational Training.

Karen Lee, our Changsha Vocational Training Manager, spoke with us about the Lighthouse and the impact it is making in the community. Karen shared “we have been working closely with local organizations to connect with families in the neighborhood.” Karen wants to expand the Vocational Training Program to even more youth in the area. She said, “we have also contacted youth who were previously involved with FPP. Since FPP is geared towards children under 18, we are hoping to transition FPP youth into our Vocational Training Program and provide them with job training and opportunities for growth.”

The Vocational Training program includes modules in crafts, music, cooking, sign language, personal development and life skills to suit various needs and abilities. A weekly class schedule has been designed with the young people’s needs in mind, and they are encouraged and guided to select their own choice of modules.

The vocational trainers meet with the parents regularly to discuss the young people’s progress. Since the program began, the young people have found benefits in the classes, and they have been coming almost everyday. They love to learn and spend time with their classmates.

Covid lockdowns and need for additional vocational trainers has brought some challenges in 2022. Karen shared, “we are down to one vocational trainer available to teach at the Lighthouse. While Xun, our trainer, leads a small class, the rest of the group are supervised and led by Gui and Dongxiu, ICC young adults, to make crafts.” A Spring Covid lockdown, which meant no youth in the building, was met with creativity by Xun. She designed cooking classes on TikTok and taught the youth simple ways to prepare dishes. The youth were asked to cook by themselves and share what they made. This interactive online class provided a learning experience and knowledge they could make food safely at home. The families were very supportive and happy to know their child was learning life skills.

As the Covid situation settles, in-person classes will be re-established. We look forward to having eager young people back at the Lighthouse, as well as new young people and vocational trainers as we expand the program.

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