Spring Fling

Diane Bruski

The Independent Living Services program works with young adults, ages 18-24, most of whom are former foster youth. We hold monthly events on various topics, which include life skills.

The ILS Family Event for March was entitled “Spring Fling.” You know it is that time of the year again! Eight interactive stations were set up. They were:

  • Station 1: Bed Making — Two toddler mattresses were placed on tables. A discussion was held on why your bed should be made daily, how often the bedding, pillows and comforters should be washed, followed by a demonstration on how the bed should be made. The participant then made the bed and was timed to see how fast and easy this could be accomplished on a daily basis. The participant with the fastest time won a prize. We even had participants racing against each other with everyone cheering them on.

  • Station 2: Glass Cleaner — This station allowed the participant to make and take home their own glass cleaner, made with a few simple ingredients. Tips on window cleaning were given, such as using newspapers rather than paper towels to clean windows and glass because it leaves NO lint, and you are recycling.

  • Station 3: Dish Washing — Participants washed and rinsed dirty dishes at this station. Thoroughly cleaning dishes and cutlery is essential for both aesthetic and hygiene reasons. Tips on the appropriate amount of dish detergent to be used, how to make washing dishes easier, the order in which dishes should be washed, and why air drying is important were some of the topics discussed.

  • Station 4: Bathroom Cleaning — Since a bathroom is a place where you get clean and can be a sanctuary where you can soak your troubles away, it is important that it stay clean. A bathroom here at SaintA’s was used to learn skills and multiple cleaning tips. Cleaning the entire bathroom is not much work if it is done correctly. Just don’t wait until it is really disgusting.

  • Station 5: Multipurpose Cleaner and Air Freshener — This double station allowed each participant to make and take home their own multipurpose cleaner and air freshener. Making your own cleaning products allows you to know exactly what is in them. Natural cleaning products are much more environmentally friendly than commercial products, and they’re cheaper.

  • Station 6: Clean Refrigerator — Yes, we had a very disgustingly dirty refrigerator on site. Since many people put off cleaning their refrigerator until it is nothing short of a disaster, we thought we would show how to clean it continuously. Participants tested their skills, cleaned portions and learned how important it is for them, their family, and guests’ health and safety that they take good care of the refrigerator from the start.

  • Station 7: Laundry (washing and drying) — Learning to do laundry is NOT difficult. We started with two very large bags of clothing, towels and bedding, which the participant needed to sort, paying attention to the labels. Basic guidelines were discussed on load types, water temperature, type of cycle for washing and how to determine the amount of time and temperature for drying.

  • Station 8: Uses of Baking Soda and Dryer Sheets — Participants at this station learned how baking soda cleans and the many uses it has in every room of the house. It can also be used for relief of bug bites and as a mouth wash and toothpaste. Baking soda is lots and lots of green cleaning power in a little box. It is a healthier, gentler way to clean a home.

    Uses of fabric softener sheets – both new and used – were discussed. You would be surprised at how versatile a regular old fabric softener sheet can be. Used sheets make a wonderfully effective dusting cloth or can be used to clean the bathroom shower walls or kitchen counters. They will not fall apart like paper towels, can be rinsed out, and have a soft abrasiveness. Did you know that rubbing a new sheet over your skin before you go outdoors will discourage mosquitoes from landing and biting you, but will also help to keep bees and other flying insects from stinging or biting you?

    Most stations incorporated at least one example of how baking soda and/or dryer sheets could be used, which further demonstrated the handiness of each item.

Many materials were handed out, including cleaning games, chores that take one minute or less, tips and shortcuts to cleaning your home fast and easy, and information on how to clean like a professional. How much can you get done during a commercial break or while talking on the phone? Don’t be afraid to multi-task or to crank up the tunes to dance while cleaning! Why not get a little exercise in at the same time?

Participants left with a bag filled with supplies, and each individual was challenged to complete weekly chores through the end of June.

Learning at any age can be fun, even when you do things that at first don’t sound like fun! Everyone, including the staff and volunteers, left with something new to try in their own home. The Franciscan Center was abuzz with activity that evening. No one wanted to leave until each and every station was completed. It was a fabulous way to kick start spring!


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