Completing thirty hours of diversity service is a requirement of the teacher education program at Northwest Missouri State University. Many students choose either tutoring adults with disabilities or recreation with adults with disabilities. Each of these activities allows interaction among a diverse group of people in a fun and energetic environment and they meet weekly during the Fall and Spring trimesters.
The arts and craft day is a part of recreation. The adults with disabilities suggest activities that they want to do and the university students provide the guidance and support to complete the activities. Most participants agree that the projects are fun but it is really all about the interaction.
Earl, one of the adults with disabilities, says, “I like arts and craft day the best. I like going outside to do activities or making jewelry.” Abbie, a NW student, says that she gets a better understanding of how the adults with disabilities live and get involved in the community.” Earl also commented that, “I feel that working with the college kids has really helped me learn and like new things.”
The college students get involved one-on-one with the adults and talk about their personal lives; they share the things they like to do and bring conversation and their world to the lives of the adults with disabilities. We are all different and bring something new and different to a group or organization, and that is what our group tries to do.
The tutoring is the most enjoyable experience for the adults with disabilities and the college students. Here we try to pair one or two college students with an adult who is building skills for everyday living tasks or learning about topics that our adults choose. Jerry says, “I like tutoring. I like playing cards, and doing puzzles. Mostly, I like working with the college kids. They have helped me with my math and writing.”
Several different fun approaches are used to help the subject or area being worked on and it is individualized because each tutor has his or her own tutee. At the end of each trimester there is a pizza party for the tutors and tutees who have committed to show-up every Thursday night. Everyone loves the pizza party! Here we have a dinner party and every tutee is given a certificate of completion and their hard work and dedication throughout the trimester. “I like getting a certificate at the end of tutoring. It makes me feel proud of all my hard work”, Jerry says. Kris also comments that “I like going to the pizza party at the end of tutoring.” Overall, whether it is recreation or tutoring a group of diverse people are bonded by working together for a common goal and having fun.