by LORA RAINES, CHOICE Academic Transition Teacher
Brea Heard, Daizah Kelly, Michelle Passmore, and Benjamin Scott, students in the CHOICE (Creating Higher Education Opportunities to Increase College Experiences) Program for inclusive learning at East Georgia State College, completed internships and job shadowing experiences during the Spring 2017 semester.
“Work-based learning opportunities including job shadowing and internships are essential in the objectives of CHOICE to prepare students for gainful employment and full participation in their communities,” said CHOICE Program Director Theresa R. Davis. “Without the willingness of our great partners like Emanuel County Schools and Emanuel Medical Center, we would not be able to give our students these vital opportunities,”
Kelly and Scott, spring 2017 graduates of EGSC, earned the Hospital Volunteer Service award for 100 or more hours of service at Emanuel Medical Center. They also earned the Service Seal of Distinction for 50 or more hours of service awarded by the college at its 56th Commencement Ceremony on May 5. The Service Seal of Distinction recognized them for their volunteer work over the course of two years at East Georgia State College.
Kelly interned at Emanuel Medical Center Nursing Home in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 under the supervision of Activity Director Latrail Reese. Scott interned under Materials Management Director Tamica Smith at Emanuel Medical Center Spring 2017.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to work with East Georgia State College through the CHOICE Program to have amazing volunteers to work with us here at Emanuel Medical Center,” said Carmen Tanner of Public Relations/Volunteer Services at the hospital.
“It’s a pleasure to have Benjamin Scott volunteer in materials management. Volunteering gives opportunity to learn the medical field,” Smith said.
Brea Heard and Michelle Passmore completed their job shadowing in the classroom of Sharon Edenfield at Swainsboro Middle School. Both Heard and Passmore are preparing for careers in education.
“The CHOICE Program, at EGSC, is a wonderful opportunity for special needs students to receive training and hands-on experience in a field that they are interested in. We have had the opportunity to have three students thus far. Tiffany Guthrie, Brea Heard and Michelle Passmore proved to be helpful in our self-contained classroom. Not only did they get to observe the teacher, paraprofessional and students, but also had ample opportunities to interact with each. We enjoyed having each of them and look forward to having the opportunity to host others in the future,” stated Edenfield.
The second inclusive postsecondary program in the state, CHOICE enrolled its first students in Spring 2015 with funding from the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) and the Model Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) grant provided by the US Department of Education to institutions of higher education to support the creation of or the expansion of high quality, inclusive model comprehensive transition and post-secondary programs.
EGSC graduated the first CHOICE cohort December 10, 2016, at their 55th Commencement Ceremony. CHOICE is a two-year collegiate program culminating in the potential receipt of college course credit, workforce preparedness and life-long learning experiences. In addition to the CHOICE curriculum of career and life skill courses, students take a core of required regular college courses and electives related to their career and life goals. CHOICE students engage in job shadowing and complete internships in their career areas, a component of the program known as work-based learning. GVRA supports CHOICE students in their career paths.
CHOICE has been designated a Comprehensive Transition Program by the U. S. Department of Education.