Yes, today is June 21st, the first day of summer. The fall semester does not begin for a couple months, yet several steps have already been taken in establishing solid community service opportunities for the disABILITY Enlightenment Project, its members, and anyone else who would like to involve themselves.
For those of you who are not returning students, the Stonehill College Campus reserves part of itself for the nonprofit organization named the HOPe House (or the House of Possibilities). This house and its staff dedicate themselves to giving respite to people with disABILITIES. Currently, services range between overnight respite, daily living skills, exercise, art and music therapy, nutrition, and Saturday Night Live events; still, Paula Kavoulis and David Dacosta (integral staff members at the house) continously and consistently attempt to branch out and extend their services. In the upcoming year, the disABILITY Enlightenment Project will aid the house in doing so.
On Wednesdays and Fridays between 10 and noon, HOPe House young adults come to Stonehill College to learn in a classroom, explore campus on their own, socialize, and experience college. If we, as members of this project along with other Stonehill students, join these adults during these times, then we will give them a more empowering and enthusiastic experience while they meander through our campus. On these days, we do not require sign-ups beforehand. We enthusiastically encourage anyone (old members, new members, nonmembers) to partake at any time. The HOPe House has not divuldged in developing stringent activity plans for these Wednesday and Friday trips to Stonehill. One art history major, however, volunteered to teach art history and fine arts lessons during Friday sessions. If anyone else would like to embark on a similar activity and teach lessons of their area of expertise, please email me so we bring these plans into fruition. In addition to these Wednesday and Friday "classroom days", HOPe clients also make their way to campus on Tuesdays. From 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, HOPe clients come to the sports complex to work out, socialize, and play sports. The disABILITY Enlightenment Project invites athletes and students of all abilities to come in to converse and exercise with HOPe clients. The biggest, most important event to the majority of young adult HOPe clients proves to be the Saturday Night Live events.
On the third Saturday of each month, the HOPe House hosts SNL for its young adults. These events last from 6 to 9 p.m. and always have a theme. For example, last month's SNL theme was baseball; thus, the night consisted of watching the game, wearing baseball (mostly Red Sox) attire, eating ballpark food, etc. To date, only a handful of Stonehill students have attended any SNL. dEP hopes to improve upon this. With hope, dEP members and fellow Stonehill students will come in, hang out, enjoy themselves, and put joy in the HOPe young adults. As of yet, the SNL events have not been photographed. Due to this, not every young adult HOPe attendee has had the opportunity to see what SNLs are like and thus, have not made the effort to attend themselves. The HOPe House invites ANYone with a camera, photography student or not, to come in and take pictures so young adults, parents, community members, and donors can see the benefits of hosting SNL. Please, if you would like to volunteer your services (or your friends' for that matter), either contact the dEP or simply show up! In preparation for each SNL, an email will be sent out to address the theme and any particular activities that will be held.
This year, the disABILITY Enlightenment Project hopes to expand in the area of community service and to further its educational aspect. As more activities are solidified, more posts and emails will be on their way! Until then, enjoy your summer :-)