’s Project PROVE program, first established in 1972, helps students with developmental disabilities, teaching them cognitive and social skills for the work force. But on Thursday, June 14, it was the students themselves who were being thanked for helping out at Braintree .
“The kids are receiving recognition for their work in sorting and alphabetizing the town census last year," said Nancy Bucknam, a Project PROVE paraeducator.
Last summer, the students helped sort census paperwork, some 36,000 sheets by Bucknam’s estimate, by precinct and street in conjunction with
the town’s census.
Twenty one students gathered at the Town Hall auditorium for a pizza party and received participation awards for their service from Mayor Joseph Sullivan and District Councilors Charles Kokoros, Leland Dingee and Henry Joyce.
“You all have helped us out tremendously and you’ve taught us a lot as well,” Sullivan told the recipients. Kokoros added on a thank you to the parents in attendance as they handed out the certificates.
Braintree’s Superintendant Dr. Peter Kurzberg and State Rep. Mark Cusack, D-Braintree, were also in attendance for the ceremony.
“We’ve found a real niche for them here,” Cusack said. “They’re learning, they’re having fun and in addition, they’re helping the community."
In addition to helping out at Town Hall and learning to integrate into regular classrooms at Braintree High, students work with other town organizations like the Council on Aging and have been visiting the State House since 2008 to help out at the clerk’s office.
“We’re very much in need of their help so we just want to show our appreciation," Kokoros said.
Bucknam has worked with the program for 12 years and said she loves how welcoming the Braintree school system and public organizations have been
“It’s nice to get them in the political realm, give them some light and make them a part of the community,” Bucknam said.
Project PROVE, which stands for "Providing Respect Opportunity Vision and Excellence," is celebrating its .