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Chardon High School's C.R.E.W program tackles community, workforce demands through skill-building rubric

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Posted at 7:33 AM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 07:45:27-04

CHARDON, Ohio — With a batch of fleece fabric tied together, piece by piece to make blankets, came a mission to help Chardon High School’s C.R.E.W students connect with the community. The program meaning, creating reliable educated workers, is focused on doing just that through several educational pillars, including a focus on hands-on soft skill learning and community service as many businesses continue to desperately search for hired help.

“The kids wanted to do something,” said Tracey Britt, C.R.E.W Career Navigator. “UH Geauga is right up the road. So, we kind of did some phone calls and said if we were to make blankets could we bring them in for kids and they were elated."

The blankets, known as “comfort blankets,” are delivered by students to the hospital’s pediatric unit monthly. So far, more than 100 blankets have been created and delivered.

“It’s an ongoing give-back where we continue to make blankets monthly and we try to drop them off as quickly as possible for those extended stays for kids,” Britt said.

Britt says eventually their partnership with UH expanded with more outreach and skill-building opportunities within the community for students to learn about the workforce.

“We contacted Rescue Village, they gave us some other projects, which is making toys for the animals. So, we have cat toys that we make [and] dog toys,” she explained. “We have really taken it to heart when we’ve heard our local businesses say we’re having a hard time finding workers so we brought it back into Chardon high school and we try to figure out how we could help support the kids and the community…A lot of our kids aren’t involved. They aren’t doing sports. Some of them do church and those activities but some of them just are looking for a connection.”

The project and effort also sparked a new perspective for Chardon sophomore Ashlei Butt.

“It helped me a lot like grow,” she said. “It’s just definitely helped me through school and just doing what I like to do at school.”

Through C.R.E.W, Butt says she discovered a passion for helping others. The aspiring cop and special education teacher also spearheaded a new give-back program benefiting another local business initiative.

“I feel like myself,” Butt said while trying to explain how she feels taking on the responsibilities of C.R.E.W.

The C.R.E.W program is the only one of its kind in Geauga County. Britt and her longtime Chardon educator, Kim Butula, started the program two years ago.

“We are here to help support kids learn how to be productive members of the workforce… we want to make sure that they are ready,” Britt said. “We are really kind of evolving. Every year we add a little bit more. We’ve seen a bigger need…it makes it easy to really think about how else can we evolve? What can we do? What other direction can we take?”

As the career navigation program expands with more than 100 students enrolled in the class next school year, Butt is confident C.R.E.W will help eighth through 12th-grade students find their passion and help guide their next step post-high school.

“Seeing different jobs that people work, how they do it, just is a lot different,” she said. “I think it’s definitely going to help everyone [with] the way they’re going for college.”

C.R.E.W has an information session for the community set. For more information, you can email Britt at and Misch at Local businesses that wanted to partner with C.R.E.W can reach out Britt and Misch as well.

Donations for C.R.E.W can be sent to Chardon High School.