Established in 2011, the Horticulture Program has grown with the addition of a greenhouse built with funds granted from Opus Foundation. In addition to tending to a local community garden, those in the Horticulture Program now work to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs onsite. While promoting independence, work ethics, increased skills, and successful volunteer opportunities in the community, the adults are taught the concept of time and space, life cycles, and seasonal events. Additional benefits of working in an outdoors environment are enhanced perceptions of vision and smell, exercise, building endurance, and improved coordination.
The TigerCafé, ATC's culinary program, provides full-meal services from menu planning and food purchasing to taking orders, meal preparation, and delivery. Under professional supervision, meals are prepared (almost 900 meals a year!) in a newly-renovated kitchen and served to the children, adults, and staff at ATC. TheTiger Café often uses produce from the Horticulture Program to prepare their delicious meals. In 2012, the Tiger Café will introduce a Visiting Chefs Program. Local professional chefs have offered to instruct and mentor the student chefs. The Tiger Café has already enjoyed visits from Chef Andre Natera from the Fairmont Dallas and a private tour and dessert making lesson at the Capital Grille in Plano.
When the staff at ATC needs an afternoon snack they head on over to the Tiger Snack Shop. The Tiger Snack Shop teaches students how to stock shelves, take inventory, purchase merchandise, manage money, and exhibit retail and customer service skills. These two programs also provide other students who do not work within these programs opportunities to practice money management and purchasing skills
There are many talented artists at ATC! The students and adults enjoy painting, drawing, and pottery activities. The art program allows the children and adults who participate an opportunity to express themselves visually by creating unique and expressive pieces. Many of these original art pieces are auctioned off each year at the Roundup for Autism Pegasus Ball, with all proceeds from these items going straight back to support the art program. We hope to establish a gallery and offer art pieces for sale in the future.