UNF OCT News & Information
The Arc Jacksonville On Campus Transition at the University of North Florida (OCT) is a transition postsecondary education program for young adults with intellectual disabilities that offers a transformational and experiential learning opportunity.
The information in this newsletter provides technical assistance to transition specialists, developing programs and personnel in current programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the postsecondary setting around the state of Florida.
Authentic Friendships Can Start Through Mentoring
Within postsecondary transition programs, mentoring may be one of the most influential facets of the entire program. Mentoring within postsecondary transition programs is when another student, faculty or staff member facilitates a student with intellectual disabilities within the realm of academics, social, independent living, employment, wellness and other adult environments. Mentors can be paid or volunteer, depending on the need of the student and program. The ultimate goal of mentoring is to establish authentic friendships between the two campus participants.
Obtaining mentors can be challenging; however, suggestions for recruiting mentors include:
- Present at Student Government meetings,
- Present at Greek Life meetings,
- Present during faculty meetings,
- Set up a booth at club festivals or other recruiting events,
- Establish partnerships with the education department for practicum experience, and
- Encourage your present mentors to "spread the word."
Once you have recruited your mentors, training the mentors is equally important. Some of the individuals who want to be mentors may not have any experience working with individuals with intellectual disabilities; therefore, providing training is vital for success. Moreover, encourage the mentors to talk with the postsecondary transition program staff members if there are issues with the mentee.
Because mentoring is such a huge part of the postsecondary transition program, not all information about mentoring can be covered within this article. Please look over the resources and look out for more articles on mentoring in future newsletters.
General TPSID Resources:
Each newsletter, we will showcase a postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities. Please e-mail me exciting news and successes that have occurred within your program such as student employment, ground breaking for a new program, events and other newsworthy ideas. Please include a blurb, picture and if a news article is attached to the story, please include a link to that as well. The following is an example of a program showcase for Project ACCESS at Lynn University.
Lynn University Project ACCESS
Friday, Sept. 28, the Project Assimilation to Community, Careers, Education, and Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) students participated in an Office Depot Foundation volunteer activity. In preparation for the foundation’s annual Sample Sale, students and staff worked all day with the foundation collecting office supplies and electronics from the Office Depot Merchandising Department, located on the fourth and fifth floors of the Office Depot Corporate Headquarters in Boca Raton. Once boxed, the items were transported to the loading dock, where some of the students worked throughout the day sorting, labeling and repackaging the items and preparing them for shipment. The students were given a light breakfast and lunch, and the ACCESS program will receive a $200 donation for all of their hard work. The students had an exclusive opportunity to see the inside of the palatial Office Depot building and experienced working at a loading dock. One of the students, André Ernest, was intrigued enough by this experience that he decided he might like to work on a loading dock in the future. The ACCESS students will volunteer again for the Office Depot Foundation during the Dec. 7 Sample Sale. Proceeds from the sale will be funneled back into the community via Office Depot Foundation’s Caring Connection.
I want to provide YOU the best technical assistance I can! Therefore, please e-mail me questions, issues or concerns about young adults with intellectual disabilities in postsecondary education. When I receive your question, I will seek appropriate resources to help me find the answer. Then I will answer the questions within the newsletter as soon as possible. Please include in the e-mail subject "Ask Amanda" therefore, I will know that question is intended for the newsletter. If you have a question that needs immediate attention, please e-mail them to me as well; however, do not include "Ask Amanda" in the subject, because I will not answer them within the e-mail. Thank you. The following is an example of an "Ask Amanda" question.
How many hours a week do The Arc Jacksonville On Campus Transition at the University of North Florida (OCT) mentors spend with their OCT student?
OCT students have many different mentors that focus on specific areas, such as academics, social, wellness, employment and independent living. Depending on the program component, the mentor is serving depends on how many hours a week they are scheduled to mentor an OCT student. The majority of the time, a matriculating college student mentor is scheduled to spend one hour per week with an OCT student. As authentic friendships form, their time together can grow because they are spending time socializing with each other. Moreover, each of the OCT students could have more than one mentor focusing on the same topic, such as two academic mentors-one that focusing on math and one that focuses on reading. Frequency and content depends on recruitment of mentors and the OCT student’s needs and schedule. I encourage you to explore the needs of your students and the mentors along with scheduling to determine the best amount of time each mentor is to spend with their mentee.
UNF, a national ranked University located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.