It is no secret that young people thrive on sports, music and food. Thus, the University of Southern Mississippi campus provided the perfect atmosphere for a group of Oak Grove High students and AmeriCorps volunteers participating in National Disability Mentoring Day festivities.
On Oct. 17 the youth spent most of the day at Southern Miss meeting members of the football team, touring WUSM-FM, and eating at the Fresh Food Company. The Institute for Disability Studies at Southern Miss served as host of the event.
Seven students from an Oak Grove special education class participated in this year’s event. AmeriCorps attendees included Kaitlyn Fuller, Taylor Carley, Amber Williams, and Hailey Graham.
“The youth that participated really enjoyed themselves. Everyone seemed to have the most fun visiting the radio station,” said Graham.
At the University’s Athletic Center, students spoke with Southern Miss football players Peter Boehme and center Austin Quattrochi.
“Our youth participants had the opportunity to see how professional jobs and student activities take place on campus on a daily basis,” said Sophia Jordan, IDS social work intern and co-coordinator for Mentoring Day.
In addition to their day on campus, participants attended an End of Day Celebration at Optimist Park. Guest speakers included Mytchiko McKenzie, a Southern Miss student and TRIAD AmeriCorps member, and Ishaunna Gully, a Life of Mississippi Project LINC AmeriCorps member. The Oak Grove Junior Civitan Group also attended. The group works with and supports special education students and is active in the school system and Civitan Camp.
This year’s National Disability Mentoring Day activities were a joint collaboration between several IDS projects including MS Partnerships for Employment, TRIAD Service AmeriCorps and the Family-to-Family Health Information and Education Center.
For more information about the Institute for Disability Studies, contact Dr. Jerry R. Alliston or Cookie Smith at 601.266.5163 or visit www.usm.edu/disability-studies.