Donations needed to help special education students at Reseda transition center

RESEDA (KABC) -- Fifth-year student Andrew Garcia punched his timecard for the last time at Miller Career and Transition Center Friday. Garcia is graduating and looking forward to using the skills he's learned here. He wants to eventually land a job at a movie theatre, but at the moment, he's enjoying his job at the Marriott Hotel.

"I like to strip beds and take out the trash cans and clean underneath the door tracks," said Garcia.

Garcia is one of more than 200 special needs students at the school, where students learn the skills they need to get jobs with programs that teach them computer repair, car detailing and baking, among others.

Carli Jaques, who dreams of a career in cosmetology, is involved in many of those programs. She says she thoroughly enjoys her baking class.

"I like when it's busy and I can help people with their hard work," said Jaques. "Help with the stirring and all that stuff, and do scooping and everything."

In special education teacher Richard Feldman's classroom alone, there are about 80 different activities that will help give his students the confidence and lessons they need to transition out of school.

"They have to have those soft skills -- good attitude, willing to work, come on time, be well groomed, and be able to work with others in a cooperative way," said Feldman, who is also the school's technology coordinator. "Those are the main goals here at Miller."

The emphasis in his classroom, though, is on the shredding program. Students pick up paper from 100 businesses and schools in the community, then bring it back to the classroom and shred it in several industrial shredders. Then, they recycle the shredded paper and the proceeds go back into shredder maintenance and other programs at the school.

"We actually come back and we shred it, and the one thing that we mostly need is a mobile shredding truck," said student Joseph Mercado.

Since some of their clients would rather have the papers shredded on site, the students would now like a mobile shredder to add to the program. For that, they would need a truck or trailer, but the Los Angeles Unified School District cannot afford to provide one.

"It's really expensive and the district really doesn't have the money right now for that," said Feldman. "But that would be our next step, so the kids could go out, do the shredding right on site, and that would be great for them."

For more information on how you can help, call (818) 885-1646 or visit

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