Published on July 15, 2018
Teachers In Action: The Russell Home: Teachers In Action: The Russell Home Sloane Hudkins and Gabrielle Scaglione Shudkins2013@knights.ucf.edu firstname.lastname@example.org July 11 th , 2018 EEX 4070 Introduction to the Host Setting: Introduction to the Host Setting For our Teachers In Action project, we will be volunteering at The Russell Home. The Russell Home is a home for atypical children that is a registered charitable organization. The Russell Home was the first non-profit institution in the country for brain-damaged children. Mrs. Russell opened her home to the first child as a test trial to see if it would work, and it in fact worked. Since 1951, the home has opened its doors to hundreds of people and in more than one instance, finding them just left on the doorstep. Within the home, the age range is 5-64 and there are all types of ethnicities. The home is a member of the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies. Engagement Activities: Engagement Activities The community need that we decided to address was cooking with exceptional learners. At The Russell home, we decided to cook with the residents. We made lunch and dinner with the residents and taught them the skills of prepping, cooking, setting the table, and cleaning up. We made vegetable soup, a salad, and some fruit punch. We set up a multi-day program with the residents and we cooked for them and taught them how to set the table as well as taught communication skills in order to foster new friendships. We went two days starting the first day from 12:00pm-7:00pm, and the second day from 12:00pm-8:00pm. When the residents were not cooking or eating, we went along with them on their normal day. They did other activities such as: dancing, singing, yoga, and learning in the classroom. Getting started: Getting started As we thought of ideas, we kept in mind that we wanted somewhere that had individuals with disabilities to be able to gain a little more experience with them. We researched online and remembered that we have friends/family who work at the facility. The Russell Home has on online application for volunteers to fill out and it ’ s a must that you call them after you apply to make sure they received your application and that you can introduce yourself. Participant Demographics: Participant Demographics The people who we served had ages ranging from 28-57. Some of the people were Caucasian, African American, Indian, and Asian. The people we worked with are considered disabled because they have a disability that limits them from learning or doing every day activities. The I.D.E.A supports free public education to those who are disabled. On their website it states that the “ IDEA is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children. ” Our project involved 12 of the residents. Service in Action: Service in Action Perceptions of Differences: Sloane : Perceptions of Differences: Sloane My initial feelings about going to volunteer here were that, I was scared. I did not think the residents were going to like us and weren ’ t going to get as involved as they did. I am so happy that I decided to work with these individuals. The first day, I was dreading on going and by the second day, I was so excited to go. There was one instance where one of the residents had a temper tantrum because she could not bring both of her suitcases to dinner. Gabrielle and I felt so sad for the resident and wanted to do everything we could to make her happy again. Perceptions of Differences: Gabrielle: Perceptions of Differences: Gabrielle Before going to our service learning project location, I was nervous because I wasn ’ t sure how our activity would turn out. I love cooking and wanted the residents to love what we were teaching them. After completing the volunteer opportunity, I realized how fun it can be to volunteer. I hope to get out into the community more and to find more time to give back. I want to implement volunteer opportunities within my future classroom to help get the students more involved with their community. Connections to Your Course: Connections to Your Course The course we are enrolled in is EEX 4070. 1.) Down-Syndrome Individuals: We learned that these individuals have many different emotions and it is important to treat them properly, as they are fragile. Be careful what you say and they will love you entirely. 2.) Individuals with brain damage: We learned that these specific individuals know what you are saying and it ’ s important to not ignore them. They want to be noticed and involved in activities just like everybody else. 3.) Individuals with language disorders: These individuals are quiet but once you open up to them, they may chat your ear off. When someone is mute, let them open up to you and speak when they want to. We learned that forcing them to talk is not healthy and they will eventually talk to you. Connections to your course (continued): Connections to your course (continued) By doing hands-on activities and not just book work for this course, we were able to learn a lot of new, useful ideas for our classrooms. Like any teacher, we hope to be patient and approachable to all of our students in the classroom. We also learned that if we have students in our class who have a disability and are upset, to leave them be and talk to them like a normal person. No one likes to be talked to like a baby. They are real people and want to be treated like one. Civic Engagement: Civic Engagement We have always thought of volunteering as a chore and something we are forced to do. However, by working with these kids, we learned that it isn ’ t something that needs to be forced. We plan on visiting The Russell Home from now on to say hello to all of the new friends we have made. By having society involved in community service, it creates a whole community and can remove bias ’ between parties. We fully recommend it to anyone who are thinking of getting involved in the community. As a future educators, we hope to get our students involved in service learning and to let them choose what they would be interested in helping with. This experience definitely motivated us to become more involved with the community, even when that means not being paid for it in money, but in happiness. Final Thoughts & Reflections: Final Thoughts & Reflections To start off, we think it would be fantastic for people to reach out to the community and help those with disabilities. By going to The Russell Home, not only did the residents learn something new, but we did as well. As we learned in the course, we should learn to see people for their abilities, and not their disabilities. Teachers are what keeps this society going, along with a community of other things. We teach the future of this world, so why not teach them the greater things of those who are disabled? It ’ s up to us to change misconceptions of people and society.