September 20, 2014  

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Social Work Summer Program Interns Explore Service, Diversity

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Institute for Disability Studies social work interns Thedfornie Jones, left, and Corinna Orange create artwork for the Arc Summer Adventure Program parade signs. (Submitted photo)

Four University of Southern Mississippi students earned valuable hands-on experience in helping children and young adults with disabilities as part of a summer internship at the Institute for Disability Studies (IDS).

Thedornie Jones, Corinna Orange, Natasha Jackson and Jacqueline Sims, all master’s level social work interns, provided assistance with the weekly recreation activities for the Arc Summer Adventures Program. The Arc program helps fill long summer days for children with disabilities by offering recreational activities, leisure skills and community outings for six weeks.

“It was a great experience for me,” said Jackson. “I didn’t know what to expect at first and was pleasantly surprised at how involved and willing everyone was to do the activities. I hope to participate in more service opportunities in the future.”

The interns collaborated with ACCESSRecreation students in providing activities targeting youth and young adults with disabilities. ACCESSRecreation is a program provided by the Southern Miss School of Human Performance and Recreation with a goal of offering exclusive recreation programs for residents in Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt. Activities include indoor tennis, volleyball, dance, use of exercise equipment, games and warm-up exercises. The students helped create signs for the end-of-program parade on July 8.

The interns also participated in group activities and worked one-on-one with program attendees. A recreational activity was completed every Friday during the six-week program.

“Two goals were accomplished through this collaborative effort with the Arc of Hattiesburg,” said Dr. Jerry R. Alliston, coordinator of Community Inclusion and Volunteer Services at IDS. “These students were given a wonderful opportunity to learn first-hand about diversity in the area of disability and learn the importance of service.”

For more information about the Institute for Disability Studies, call the Hattiesburg office at 601.266.5163 or toll free at 1.888.671.0051 or go to www.usm.edu/ids