Recreation and Wellness maintains strong connections with the Bowling Green community. One of the cooperative efforts between the department and the community is the work done with the Wood County Educational Service Center (WCESC.) Student Recreation Center (SRC) Assistant Director of Facilities Dave Hollinger and Special Education Supervisor Diane Witt from the WCESC work together to give local high school-aged students with developmental disabilities the opportunity to cultivate real-world job skills.
The work done at the SRC is part of a “living classroom” program at the WCESC. The students’ classroom is an apartment in Bowling Green from which the students take the BGSU shuttle to work.
“The mission of our ‘living classroom’ is to offer meaningful experiences to promote growth in the areas of employment, independent living, recreation and leisure, and community participation, allowing for a natural transition of skills into adult life for individuals with significant disabilities,” stated Witt.
The students’ work at the SRC is mutually beneficial.
“It’s a win-win for everybody,” explained Hollinger. “It’s great to have the opportunity to work with a diverse staff, and it’s a good opportunity for the students to learn in a real-life setting.”
Currently, there are four students from the WCESC working at the SRC. The session began in October 2009 and runs through May 2010. The duties performed by the students range from cleaning tasks, such as wiping down equipment and disinfecting areas of the building, to greeting people entering the building and sorting documents.
“We give them a staff shirt and a name tag,” noted Hollinger. “They’re part of the team.”
The positive impact the program has on the students is apparent.
“You can see a big difference between the first day and the last,” said Hollinger. “The growth is noticeable. It’s tangible, and it’s rewarding.”