The Bell Center
by Nathan Ennis
My community service at The Bell Center ended up being an extremely rewarding experience. I was paired with one child in August who I worked with every Wednesday morning to help facilitate his goals. The Bell Center is set up like any other pre-school, but caters to those children who are deemed "at risk for developmental delay." Each child is evaluated by a team of therapists who decide at what level that child is currently functioning. The therapists then set a number of goals in gross-motor, fine-motor, speech, and sensory skills for which the community volunteers can watch for and help the child progress towards. As a community volunteer, I have found that though I am there for a grade, there is no doubt that I will return for myself. After discussing my DCS class with the Programs Director at The Bell Center, Andi Gillen, she decided that what they would like for me to do for my media project was to make a video that they could use to inform and recruit new community volunteers. So that's just what I did:
Volunteers at The Bell Center provide one-to-one assistance to children being served in a toddler programs called All About Me. This two hour program operates very much like a typical preschool classroom. Children participate in circle time, snack time, art activities and music activities. The classroom is lead by a team of professionals including an early childhood special educator, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist and physical therapist. The classroom schedule and activities are therapeutic in design and promote growth and learning. However, children participating in the program are simply having fun participating in a preschool environment.
Volunteers at The Bell Center commit to working with a child for 2 hours once a week. Each volunteer participates in a brief training session held on the first Thursday of each month at 10:30 am, before starting. The experience of volunteering at The Bell Center is both meaningful and rewarding and volunteers are vital to the success of the program.
For more information on The Bell Center or on how to become a community volunteer visit their web site.