From left

New house will teach students life skills

Many with mental and physical disabilities will never be able to live alone. A house at Timberline school will aim to change that.

A life skills training house, which will help youth practice independent living skills, broke ground last week.

Many with mental and physical disabilities will never be able to live alone. A house at Timberline school will aim to change that.

A life skills training house, which will help youth practice independent living skills, broke ground last week.

“Through the building of this training house, the school district will be able to provide life skills training to special needs students,” said Tom Longridge. “We will teach skills that many take for granted and that are the hallmark of an independent life.”

The facility is expected to open in early fall and though the students would not live in the house, or stay overnight, groups of 20 to 25 people would spend a few hours a day in the house learning basic life skills such as cleaning, cooking, recycling and even grocery shopping and budgeting.

“With an educational assistant they would do grocery shopping and they would try to emulate what that’s really like, getting them to take a bus, making a list and buying the groceries,” said Diana Camerin, Timberline career facilitator who brought forward the concept of the life skills house.

Students would also wash dishes, invite people over for coffee, learn to lock the front door and even figure out how to make a house look lived-in while out of town.

The house will have a living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom with a small bed, dresser and closet so students learn how to fold and organize their clothes.

“They’ll be learning basic skills – the things we take for granted,” said Camerin.

Seymour Pacific is donating the construction of the house and all the furniture.

“It’s undoubtedly the most generous thing I’ve experienced in my teaching career,” said Camerin. “We are so grateful as a district to be able to offer this to our students because of this family’s generosity.”

Kris Mailman, president of Seymour Pacific, chose to name the house after his parents Ed and May Mailman, in recognition of the spirit of community giving they passed on to him.

Camerin says there will be a formal ribbon cutting ceremony in September to open the house and after students have used the facility, it will be available to rent by other community groups.

The business class at Timberline will likely maintain and run the house.