‘Dress for Success’ partners teach job readiness skills

Annie Block makes a no-bake energy bite during the “Dress for Success” event at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, on April 6. The health and wellness fair, spearheaded by Caitlin Fitzpatrick, provided a variety of educational activities for all who attended. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

by Moira Cullings

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As they left the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) here on April 6, “Dress for Success” participants were invigorated by all they had learned.

Among the bustling crowd, Caitlin Fitzpatrick was beaming.

“It has been so rewarding, so amazing,” said Fitzpatrick, who spearheaded the event. “I could not have asked for anything more.”

Fitzpatrick is a doctoral student in the occupational therapy program at KUMC’s School of Health Professions.

The “Dress for Success” health and wellness fair for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities was one component of her capstone project.

Lindsay Krumbholz chats with participants of “Dress for Success.” Many of them are employees of The Golden Scoop, an ice cream and coffee shop Krumbholz and her sister Amber Schreiber, graduates of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, founded. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

She partnered with The Golden Scoop, a nonprofit ice cream and coffee shop in Overland Park that provides meaningful employment for individuals with disabilities, where she works as its operations manager.

Several community partners donated their time and resources to make the event a success for the 30 men and women who participated.

Activities at multiple stations taught them more about job readiness skills, like communication, fitness, healthy snacks and hygiene.

In a separate conference room, their caregivers listened to presentations and learned of resources related to ABLE accounts, special-needs trusts and more.

Mike Letourneau from Creative Planning leads a presentation for caregivers of the individuals who attended “Dress for Success.” LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

“Dress for Success” was part of The Golden Scoop University training program, which is defined by four pillars: professionalism, health and wellness, interpersonal skills and on-the-job training skills.

“One of the things we noticed at The Golden Scoop was our ‘Super Scoopers’ didn’t know what health and wellness activities really were,” said Fitzpatrick, “but they had a desire to learn.

“It’s really about establishing those resources and sharing information with this population. There’s nothing really out there like this for them.”

Many Golden Scoop employees, known as “Super Scoopers,” were eager to soak in the experience.

Jack Melvin is all smiles at the “Dress for Success” event. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

And with the shop’s plans to open a second location near 103rd and 69 Highway in Overland Park this summer, the event also drew in “Super Scooper” hopefuls.

“Health and wellness is something that we promote heavily at The Golden Scoop,” said co-founder Amber Schreiber, “because a lot of our employees want to work longer hours, but they don’t have the stamina.

“We try and encourage them to eat right, exercise [and] bring healthy snacks in when they have a longer shift.”

Schreiber and her fellow co-founder and sister Lindsay Krumbholz graduated from Overland Park’s St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

Schreiber said the school’s service hour requirements set the tone for the two sisters to strive to make a difference in their community.

“I think that laid the foundation for Lindsay and [me],” she said, “and that has stuck with us throughout our journey here with The Golden Scoop.”

Sam Buechler (standing) guides Jacob Degner, left, and Hank Wolf in a healthy snack making activity led by Chef David from Kitch Meals. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

Since opening their first shop in 2021, the pair has relied on community members like occupational therapists, who understand the unique needs of their employees and can set them up for success.

Fitzpatrick was grateful for the encouragement she received from the sisters to take this project and make it her own.

She hoped the participants walked away with a greater understanding of positive lifestyle habits like healthy snacking and hygiene routines.

“And I hope that they also feel more comfortable talking and engaging in social activities within the community,” she said, “because that’s so important and also encourages continued physical fitness and wellness in your life.”

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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