December 20, 2014  

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TRIAD Members Provide National Service During Spring Break

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From left, TRIAD members Kaitlyn Fuller and Sydney Sanders, students at Oak Grove High School work with TRIAD volunteer Cortney Lonie, a Southern Miss student, in keeping score and stats during the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Gulf Coast Conference Championship held at Jackson State University. (Submitted photo)

Instead of taking a beach trip or relaxing at home, several youth and young adult members of the Institute for Disability Studies’ TRIAD Service AmeriCorps program spent part of their spring break holiday providing national service. 

These young leaders participated in the 2012 National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Gulf Coast Conference Championship held at Jackson State University.  The weekend-long tournament featured teams from southeastern states including The University of Southern Mississippi Technology Learning Center (TLC) Golden Eagles wheelchair basketball, who won the title of NWBA Gulf Coast Conference Champion.

TRIAD (Training, Resources and Information for the Advancement of Disability) Service AmeriCorps is an inclusive service program that focuses on assisting students with disabilities in the transition to adulthood. These members work with secondary students to enhance the current transition services offered through the school system, providing a meaningful experience and impacting the community. 

Focus is on several transition activities including recreational events such as the NWBA tournament. Seven TRIAD Members and one volunteer served over 10 hours at the tournament assisting with registration, the information table and lunch.

TRIAD member Sydney Sanders says service allows members to assist others while learning as well. “I chose to attend the alternative spring break as it was something new,” said Sanders. “It was an eye opening experience as I watched individuals with disabilities show their “ability” in something they love -- basketball.”

“These members gave their holiday time and their talents to ensure the success of the tournament,” said Dr. Jerry Alliston, TRIAD project coordinator. “These future leaders are giving back to their community and learning the value of service.”

The IDS TRIAD Service AmeriCorps Program, housed on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi with service sites in the Hattiesburg community and throughout the south and southeastern part of the state, is funded by a grant through the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service.  To learn more about the TRIAD Service AmeriCorps program, call IDS at 601.266.5163 or visit www.usm.edu/ids/triadamericorps .