Boys and Girls Club of Eustis

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Boys and Girls Club of Eustis:

Boys and Girls Club of Eustis Serving Children in our Community By, Gary Locuson & Heather Simpson garylocuson@knights.ucf.edu heathersimpson@knights.ucf.edu April 21, 2013 EEX 4070

Introduction to the Host Setting:

Introduction to the Host Setting The Boys and Girls club meets at the First United Methodist Church in Eustis, Florida. The staff works with parents to develop a plan for their child depending on their child’s needs. The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake and Sumter Counties is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need them most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The program is headed by the site coordinator, Kelsey Jimenez. She has been invested there for 7 years.

Engagement Activities:

Engagement Activities We worked with a few different students from the Boys & Girls Club. Omar is a 12 year old boy with Cerebral Palsy Reese is an 8 year old girl with ADHD Gage is a 7 year old boy with Autism We worked with the students on the following dates: February 20 , February 27, March 13, March 20. We volunteered from 2-6p.m.

Activities:

Activities Omar – Because of his disability, he is encouraged by his doctor to walk around as much as possible. We engaged him in outdoor walks on the playground. We also helped him participate in activities with fellow students such basketball.

Activities:

Activities Reese – The biggest area she needed help in was her schoolwork. She had difficulty with focusing for long periods of time during homework hour. We helped her with her homework and facilitated “brain-breaks” every 20 minutes.

Activities:

Activities Gage – We focused on activities that involved play with others. He had problems socializing on his own, so we brought him in with other students in sports settings like kickball and volleyball. We also spent time reading to him.

Participant Demographic:

Participant Demographic We personally worked with 3 of the 70 students in the Club. All students were between the ages of 5 and 14 and included students fluent in English and Spanish. Also among the 70, were students of African American descent, Hispanic, and Caucasian.

Service in Action:

Service in Action Above: The students are on the playground with Reese taking a break after homework hour. Below: Two students are working together on the playground. Above: Students are packing up after homework hour.

Perceptions of Differences:

Perceptions of Differences From Gary’s Point of View: As a high school student, I worked with students with disabilities in a program called “Best Buddies”. As I grew older, I worked for Lake County School Board in a m iddle s chool as a teacher assistant in an ASD Unit (Autism S pectrum D isorder). Due to my past experiences, I felt relatively comfortable around the students at the Boys & Girls Club. From Heather’s Point of View: From 1997 – 1999, I worked as a Child Care Specialist at the Penrickton Center for Blind and Multiply Handicapped Children in Taylor, Michigan. All the children I worked with were visually impaired and had at least one other disability. Some of those disabilities included: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, & Epilepsy. Because of my experience, I felt very comfortable and excited to work with the students at the Boys & Girls Club.

Connections to the Course:

Connections to the Course EEX 4070 The role of the general education teacher when dealing with a student with developmental disabilities is to find an educational plan that will benefit the student to his/her specific needs. Students with disabilities will have an IEP (individualized education plan) that will state their specific accommodations. We will work with these students whether it be at a full or partial inclusion school. As future teachers, we will keep in constant contact with families of the IEP students so we can collaborate on goals for the student. We will create a comfortable and inviting environment for all our students and have assistive technology in the classroom that accommodate all types of disabilities.

Civic Engagement:

Civic Engagement Being a good citizen is caring about society and helping people around us. We believe that it is our duty to our community to be involved in service learning and volunteerism with students with disabilities. We will continue to find ways to connect with students in and out of our classrooms. We believe that the best way to learn about people with disabilities is to work with them.

Final Thoughts and Reflection:

Final Thoughts and Reflection We truly enjoyed the opportunity we had to work with these amazing students. We will continue to learn through service learning projects like these throughout our lives. We believe that it is projects like these that make our community better while helping learn selflessness and empathy. We are thankful to Kelsey Jimenez for opening up her club for us to volunteer our time with the students.

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