St. Anselm’s Students Are Making a Difference!
St. Anselm College in Manchester has been a wonderful partner of The Moore Center for over 5 years. Students from their Nursing and Social Work programs work closely with Life Skills Coaches in our Community-Based Services program to run weekly classes for our clients, helping them explore and learn through a variety of experiences that encourage personal growth and help us achieve our mission of “creating opportunities for a good life”.
The student volunteers create classes specifically for our clients to teach them various skills and present them with opportunities to learn, which helps them become more independent, builds their self-confidence, and develops their ability to thrive in social situations.
Paul Frank, one of the Service Learning student volunteers, isn’t sure who’s teaching who sometimes though. He said, “I wasn’t sure what to expect when I volunteered to be part of the program, but I quickly learned that I get as much out of it as the clients do. They’ve taught me a lot about facing challenges with a positive attitude, how much one can accomplish with a little determination, and that you should never under-estimate anyone’s ability.”
That sentiment was echoed by others as they enthusiastically engaged in making apple nachos as part of their cooking class. Watching them engage with clients is heartwarming, as they share warm words of encouragement with incredible patience and genuine care while helping them steady their hands to create their snack. They go out of their way to make sure everyone can accomplish the tasks and enjoy a bite to eat.
The cooking classes are just the most recent example. They’ve also created a “Passport” program to expose clients to various cultures and geographies, as well as a “Leisure Skills” class which teaches clients how to do arts and crafts, play board games and learn other meaningful leisure activities. These classes are all created with a specific purpose in mind – to develop skills such as focusing on a task, increasing dexterity, and developing the ability to think through situations.
Building lasting relationships is also an important component of the program. Both the students and clients get to know each other over an extended period of time and grow to appreciate each other. They especially look forward to the joint Valentine’s Day dance, where the students create a special event for our clients, which is usually attended by well over 100 people!
St. Anselm College requires all students to perform 20 hours of community service per semester. Although this may initially be seen as a bit of a challenge, the students quickly find that it’s a rewarding experience and provides great hands-on learning and personal growth. The students who work with The Moore Center find the experience of engaging with people with developmental disabilities provides many valuable lessons, and it quickly becomes something they look forward to!
We sincerely appreciate all that they do. They provide so much more that a few classes, and we look forward to continuing to “creating opportunities for a good life” together!