Drs. Nicole DeClouette and Chesley Mercado recently helped the Baldwin Life Enrichment Center write and secure a $100,000 grant from Benchmark Human Services. The funding comes after a longstanding partnership between Georgia College and the Life Enrichment Center, which serves adults with disabilities living in and around Baldwin County.
“For many adults with disabilities, when they leave the Center at 3 p.m. everyday, they sit at home,” said DeClouette, associate professor of special education. “But with this grant, we’ve created more enrichment opportunities that they and their guardians can take part in.”
The funding established the Creative Enrichment Center, which operates two Tuesday nights and one Saturday a month out of the Life Enrichment Center. During this time, adults can take cooking classes, participate in arts and crafts and field trips and spend time in a sensory room.
“The activities are led by GC students, and they’ll provide a variety of activities,” said Mercado, chair of the creative art therapies department. “An exciting experience is the sensory room. This area filled with aural, visual, tactile and olfactory stimulation in a quiet environment gives participants a place to relax."
First year, music therapy major Connor Dugosh spent the first day of the activities on Tuesday, Feb. 7 co-leading two group sessions that included playing a welcome song and a game that encouraged individuals to get to know each other. Dugosh says each activity is meant to provide a safe, enjoyable environment for those participating.
“This event provided us with the opportunity to gain more real world experience by leading two group sessions and having to adapt the session plan according to how each group reacts to the activities,” said Dugosh. “For the Center, this allowed people in the community who might be interested in the facility to see what kinds of things would be done while at the day Center.”