Rivier College and PLUS Company Complete First Year of Campus-Based Enrichment
Saturday, May 5, 2012
For hundreds of thousands of young adults, April and May signify the completion of another year of college. For some, this spring will signify the completion of their first experience as college students while for others it is the end of their formal education. For eight PLUS Company clients, this April signifies the culmination of a unique opportunity where a group of adults with intellectual disabilities get a taste of the college experience.
The students are in a pilot program at Rivier College held in collaboration with Rivier’s Service Learning program. The Campus-Based Enrichment Program (CBEP) has allowed a small group of PLUS Company clients the opportunity to attend non-credit continuing education classes on the college campus. Each session provides a variety of subjects ranging from emergency preparedness, to consumer behavior, environmental awareness, and health and wellness. Rivier College students work in collaboration with faculty and The PLUS Company to facilitate sessions as part of their service learning program. Classes are held two days a week and provide the Rivier students the opportunity to teach and the PLUS clients the opportunity to experience a class in a college setting.
Stephanie Gagne, a Rivier nursing student taught the health class and shared some thoughts on opportunity. “The group of students that I taught this semester were such remarkable people- each with their own quirks and personalities. There needs to be more awareness on campus of the program, and maybe after seeing the enthusiasm of the students on campus this year there will be a bigger willingness to participate next year. I think that the classes offered to the PLUS students are great in gaining their knowledge of self and their community.”
Rivier students have taught classes on a variety of topics including health and wellness, disaster preparedness, environmental awareness, and navigating the community. PLUS clients also have the chance to participate in structured recreational activities and dine in the college cafeteria alongside students.
“This program has been the culmination of a long time dream to provide PLUS clients with the opportunity to experience a tiny taste of college. Many of our clients have siblings that attend or have attended college, and they thought they would never get the same opportunity. The CBEP program allows them to take classes and socialize and become a part of the Rivier Community,” stated Kim Shottes Executive Director of The PLUS Company.
Research has suggested that students with intellectual disabilities are capable of continuing to learn beyond high school age. Throughout the nation programs are being created that teach enrichment courses as well as life skills. The PLUS Company has been working to empower adults with developmental disabilities to maximize their independence for forty years.
“We hope to continue working with Rivier College to build our clients’ confidence, assist with their social skills and encourage them to be life-long learners. Really many of the same goals parents have for any child headed off to college,” concluded Shottes.
NH State Information