Hunter Goodman is one of several students participating in the debut of the Novi Adult Transition Center’s Novi4All Mobile Market Sept. 17 at the football game at Novi High School.

Hunter Goodman is one of several students participating in the debut of the Novi Adult Transition Center’s Novi4All Mobile Market Sept. 17 at the football game at Novi High School.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Novi school district creates mobile market for NATC students

By: Mike Koury | Novi Note | Published October 7, 2021

 The Novi4All Mobile Market has more events to attend in October.

The Novi4All Mobile Market has more events to attend in October.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Novi Education Foundation Executive Director Jason Smith, National Food Group communications specialist Kat Dooley, student Rohit Saha, Novi Community School District Superintendent Steve Matthews, student Hunter Goodman, and Director of Special Education Programs and Services Shailee Patel cut the ribbon for the opening of the Novi4All Mobile Market Sept. 17. Hanging out in the trailer are special education teachers Sebrina Shields and Brad Therrian.

Novi Education Foundation Executive Director Jason Smith, National Food Group communications specialist Kat Dooley, student Rohit Saha, Novi Community School District Superintendent Steve Matthews, student Hunter Goodman, and Director of Special Education Programs and Services Shailee Patel cut the ribbon for the opening of the Novi4All Mobile Market Sept. 17. Hanging out in the trailer are special education teachers Sebrina Shields and Brad Therrian.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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NOVI — The Novi Community School District recently started a mobile market, operated in part by students from the Novi Adult Transition Center.

The Novi Adult Transition Center unveiled its Novi4All Mobile Market on Sept. 17. The district partnered with the Novi Education Foundation and the National Food Group to start the mobile market.

The center is a post-secondary education facility for students ages 18-26. The programming focuses on supporting students in four main areas of transition: independent living, communication participation, employment and training, and functional academics. It also requires the students to take part in a life skills and employment skills program.

Usually, the students would be able to take part in programs and go into the community to get work-based experience. However, Director of Special Education Programs and Services for Novi Community School District Shailee Patel said, they weren’t able to do so during the last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of the reason Patel wanted to start the market was that the school didn’t know what the fall would look like or if they could secure business partnerships for the students.

“My idea was because our kids could not get out to the community during the pandemic, and we also partner with several businesses where part of their instruction is being out in the community doing work-based learning and part of their day is getting instructional in the classroom, the Mobile Market is a way for our students to practice those skill sets, as well as be part of the community events in an inclusive way,” she said.

Hunter Goodman, 21, is a student at the NATC and was one of several who took part in the market. His mom, Natasha, said the last year has been difficult for the students because a big part of their curriculum is vocational learning, and the lack of work-based experience has been tough for them.

“Our kids were in the program Zooming four to five days a week trying to mimic real life experiences, and after many months of that, no matter how good the staff is, that’s obviously very challenging,” she said. “Even because of the social distancing guidelines last year, they couldn’t even make stuff up and do many activities. So it was a tough year. It really impacted their learning, and not because of the staff — because of restrictions.”

The NATC was able to secure a trailer in July, decorated it and held the market’s grand opening at a Novi High School football game. The students handed out Zee Zees bars, sold Wildcat merchandise and interacted with the rest of the community.

Patel said the whole experience was great for the students.

“At the football game we had so many spectators that came up. We actually generated close to $300 in just donations. … They just wanted to support the program,” she said. “It just gave the kids such a great smile on all their faces. It was fabulous.”

Seeing the happiness of the students and recognizing the kind of opportunity it was for them, Natasha Goodman said the emotion of the day was almost impossible to describe.

“It’s something that can’t be simulated in the classroom,” she said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity. It’s also an opportunity for the community to understand persons with disabilities better.”

For his part, Hunter Goodman said he was a bit nervous taking part in the market, but he also said it was exciting and he enjoyed hanging out with his classmates.

“It was enjoyable to do it,” he said.

The Novi4All Mobile Market will be set up next at the Novi Education Foundation’s Oktoberfest fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 16, at Paradise Park.

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