The Castellana Foundation, Western Beef, and their parent company Cactus Holdings Inc.,and Peter Castellana III on behalf of the Castellana family are proud to announce their support for Gersh Academy for Students on the Autism Spectrum. Western Beef has been a partner with Gersh Academy for approximately three years.
Through this partnership, Gersh offers their students a vocational opportunity near their campus in West Hempstead, NY. This program helps students build real life work experience.
For more information on this program, please read the following Q&A provided from our partners at Gersh Academy:
“Q: How long has Gersh Academy worked with Western Beef In West Hempstead?
A: Gersh Academy has been working with Western Beef in West Hempstead for approximately the last three years.
Q: How do our students like working there?
A: Our students love working there, they are always excited for this vocational opportunity, and since it’s so close to our school, there is a real sense of community when they work there.
Q: How did Gersh come about working with Western Beef and creating that relationship?
A: Gersh is always looking for opportunities where our students can get real life work experience. With real life work experience, we try to seek out what an actual work day will look like, including how to get to work. Travel Training with our students includes walking to different work sites, as well as utilizing public transportation. This made Western Beef an easy choice. When initializing the relationship, Sonny, (I believe the store manager at the time) helped to facilitate the relationship, as is always accommodating whenever we are working there.
Q: Can you share with us a positive experience you’ve had with Western Beef and your students?
A: It’s hard to mention just one, as over the course of our relationship, there have been so many students that have greatly benefited from this vocational opportunity. One time does stand out though, when I was visiting our students working at Western Beef, I noticed how all the students couldn’t wait for their opportunity to help customers bag their items. Typically we break up students into doing multiple different tasks, and then rotating them, so that they can experience different job roles, but it seemed as though all the students couldn’t wait to interact with customers. That was special to me, that our students were so comfortable at the work site that they wanted to interact with people.
In closing, I just wanted to reiterate how great of an opportunity working at Western Beef has been for our students. They learn real life skills that they can transfer to real life jobs down the road. The staff and management are always so supportive and patient with our students, and together we are truly making a future for these students. We are Changing Lives!”
Western Beef and The Castellana Foundation are grateful for the invaluable experience of partnering with the faculty and students of Gersh Academy and look forward to being a partner for years to come.