All Around Town: Weinberg Village Comes Back to Life for Middle School Visit

Students from Anderson Middle School toured Friendship Circle’s Weinberg Village, spending real money in the true-to-life cityscape. The students visited Sav-On Drugs, Fringe Too Salon, Friendship Cafe and more as part of the Lessons for Life program, gaining valuable life skills experiences.

weinberg village

In the heart of LifeTown, Weinberg Village is back in action. The town is once again fully staffed with Friendship Circle’s dedicated volunteers after closing over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students have spent the past 12+ months in contained classrooms or in virtual learning spaces and haven’t had the opportunity to practice daily skills in the real world, like making purchases and crossing the street on their own.

“Kids spent a lot of time in quarantine not interacting with others, so it’s really important for social and safety skills to practice these things in order to be successful,” says Shelby Lonnerstater, educational director at Friendship Circle.

After arriving at Weinberg Village, students stopped at Huntington Bank to interact with the bank teller and withdraw real money to spend around town. From there, the middle schoolers decided for themselves which locations to visit next.

shopping at Sav-On Drugs

Some students ventured off to Sav-On Drugs, where they purchased toys and candy from the shop. With a limited budget, the students practiced money management, ensuring that they had enough dollars to visit all their favorite shops.

checking out books at the library

Students also stopped at the West Bloomfield Library, browsing books to check out and using library tablets to research topics on the internet. Others stopped at Henry Ford Medical Center for their check-up. After sitting in the waiting room, the doctor checked students’ eyesight, looked inside their ears and listened to their heartbeat.

getting a check-up at the doctor's

After visiting the ice cream stand, students rode bikes in the street, learning to stop at each red light for pedestrians. Afterward, they ended the day at the Friendship Theater, stopping at the window to purchase tickets and popcorn.

buying ice cream

riding a bike

friendship theater

Lessons for Life provides students with a unique experience that they can’t get anywhere else. The biggest takeaway for students is confidence in assuming responsibility and independence in the outside world.

“There’s a gap in education right now with not having access to that real-world environment where it’s safe to learn and make mistakes,” says Lonnerstater. “For the students, the teachers and the volunteers, it’s been a piece missing over the past year.”

To participate in the Lessons for Life program and schedule a visit of the Weinberg Village, contact Shelby Lonnerstater at [email protected]

For media inquiries, please contact Melanie Barnett at [email protected].
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