This past spring fifteen COARC participants attended a completion ceremony for the COARC program at Columbia Greene Community College. COARC is an organization whose mission is to “expand abilities, one person at a time, so people experiencing disabilities can achieve their individual goals” in Columbia County, New York.
The ceremony was held in the Professional Academic Center at C-GCC.Dawn Defino, Assistant Professor of Human Services oversaw the event and introduced speakers and participants. They included college President James Campion, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Phyllis Carito, Vice President and Dean of Students and Enrollment Management Joseph Watson, and COARC administrators Danielle Palleschi, Carolyn Anklam and Alex Schnieder.
The program consisted of ten mini-courses taught by C-GCC faculty and staff. C-GCC Human Services students mentored the participants.The program began last spring after COARC requested an educational program through the college in the fall of 2012. DeFino developed, recruited, taught and oversaw the program. It includes the implementation of specialized training for student mentors, as part of their Human Services education. It also provides training for faculty and staff.
“We saw this as an opportunity not only to meet a community need,” said Defino, “but to develop a state of the art learning opportunity for C-GCC students who are majoring in the field of Human Services.”
The Spring 2014 program was rolled out in January. Faculty and staff as well as twelve Human Service students and two Criminal Justice students worked with fifteen COARC participants.Ten mini-courses were taught including Women’s Circle, Men’s Violence Prevention, Introduction to Italian, Public Speaking, Historical and Contemporary Poetry, Diversity, CPR and First Aid, World History, Computer Applications and Safety, and Compass and Orienteering.
“Without the hard work and dedication of faculty and staff at CGCC,” said Defino, “this program would not be possible.”
“The participants show up bright and early on Monday and Wednesday, enthusiastic to learn. It is a wonderful educational experience for all and is a good example of the real world training that Columbia-Greene offers its students.”
Atiba was an intern with SUNY's Office of New Media, who became a University at Albany graduate in English with a minor in Communications.