The OCT goal is to create independent lifelong learners who are connected to their community. Research has shown that young individuals are most influenced by their peers during their late teens and early twenties. To maximize the value of this learning, OCT trains and uses UNF students to help implement transition trainings within real-world scenarios. OCT goals are obtained through the following:
While auditing a variety of UNF courses, students become fully immersed within the campus community. Through the guidance of their academic mentors (other UNF students within their courses,) the assistance of OCT staff, and the support of their UNF professors, students learn responsibility, time management, socialization, determination, perseverance, and self-discipline. Students further enhance their academics by utilizing same-age university peers for one-on-one and small group tutoring in reading, math, and budgeting. Students are also assisted in accessing university resources to pursue specialized interests such as: voice-lessons, musical instrument lessons, personal fitness training, etc.
In addition to staff, OCT uses AmeriCorps work readiness mentors to provide career development and exploration, job readiness, job seeking, job coaching, and job retention training and support. Students participate in a variety of on-campus internships based upon individualized preferences, and are provided customized job development services. Students are assisted in finding employment on campus and near campus to meet their individual career goals.
To facilitate integration and inclusion OCT has developed a social mentoring program, pairing UNF students with OCT students. Social mentors are peers, recruited and selected from a variety of different majors and diverse backgrounds. Mentors and students develop genuine friendships and engage in a mutual transformational process. Mentors assist in the students’ integration within campus by socializing on campus, going to lunch together, attending athletic games, going to off-campus community events, theatrical performances, etc. Students are also encouraged to join and participate in UNF student organizations and clubs. For example, our students participate in such diverse groups as: African American Student Union, Intercultural Center for PEACE, Women’s Center, Interfaith Center, American Sign Language Club, Anime Club, etc.
Fitness and Personal Growth
Students are required to engage in a daily fitness regimen of their selection on campus . They choose from a variety of activities including: water aerobics, yoga, dance lessons, gym, basketball, tennis, racquetball, and weight training at the fitness center. They are also provided with nutritional guidance from nutrition majors. Peer counseling (UNF students in training to become counselors) and personal growth/socialization training seminars are offered to students to facilitate personal growth. Students are also encouraged to participate in on-campus activities that focus upon general well-being, in keeping with the overall philosophy of holistic health through increased self-esteem, as well as maturity.
Independent Living/Community Life
The ultimate goal for students is to become independent, well-adjusted, integrated, and contributing members of society. Within the OCT, students learn safety and emergency response skills, and receive training in public transportation time management financial management, and instruction in how to access a variety of community resources. The program provides community inclusion activities as part of instructional learning.