Volunteer Spotlight: Abbey

This week’s Volunteer Spotlight is Abbey, who has been volunteering as an Educational Coach for three semesters now. When she isn’t spending time with TOPS, she is studying Health Sciences and Disability Studies. She is also involved with Kappa Alpha Theta, CHAARG, Future Buckeye Physician Assistants, and Campus Outreach. Abbey loves Ohio State football and is an enthusiastic Buckeye fan. She first got involved with TOPS because she has a passion for working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. So far, her favorite class that she has helped with as an educational coach is Theatre.  She said, “It was so fun to watch all of the students perform and also it was very interesting to learn about, too!”

Abbey’s favorite part about her college experience has been volunteering with TOPS, explaining that it has had a positive impact on her. “It is also such a unique program, so it is fun to explain it to other students/non-OSU people who don’t know what it is,” she said. She also enjoys the inclusive atmosphere that TOPS provides, saying that she always finds herself smiling when at events.

“TOPS has impacted my life in a multitude of positive ways- from lifelong friends, to new educational skills, but must importantly it has taught me how to make the most of each day.  When I go to class with TOPS students, they are always so eager to learn whether they are extremely invested in the subject or not, and that has opened my eyes to learning in so many different ways.  It is so awesome to be so excited about learning, and it helps with retaining the information as well.”

Abbey, thank you for your commitment to helping students succeed in the classroom – we appreciate you!

Volunteer Spotlight: Mia

As we move into the end of October, we wanted to continue to recognize some of our awesome volunteers! Our Volunteer Spotlight this week is Mia, who has volunteered with TOPS for three semesters now. During her involvement so far, she has served as an academic tutor, an educational coach, and she also attends social events.

Mia first learned about TOPS through a friend. “It was something I really wanted to get involved with because I have an older sister with disabilities, so I try to help wherever I can in the community.” If she could tell prospective volunteers one thing, she would emphasize that it’s “a once in a lifetime experience.”

When asked how TOPS has impacted her, Mia said, “volunteering with TOPS has impacted my life in so many good ways…I know that in the future I will have some of the best hands-on experience in peer-mentoring and assisting others.” Her favorite memory with the program so far has been working in the academic center and “listening to everyone enjoy each other’s company and make new friends.” She has also loved getting to know TOPS students and catching up with them about their classes and activities.

Mia is majoring in neuroscience and plans to continue on to medical school. She is involved in OUAB and Tri Delta. She also works as a lab aide and in a research lab that studies spinal cord injuries. Mia says the best food combination in the world is a Wendy’s frosty with anything – French fries, chicken nuggets, etc.!

We appreciate your enthusiastic attitude and all that you do for TOPS. Thanks, Mia!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

It’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month! NDEAM, held annually in October, encourages conversation about employing individuals with disabilities and highlights their positive impact on the workforce.

This month, we are featuring current and former students on The Ohio State University Nisonger Center Facebook page. We encourage you to like the page to follow along and learn more about our awesome students!

Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council’s Five-Year State Plan Survey

The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council has published a survey to gather information about the needs of Ohioans with disabilities. The data gathered from this survey will inform the development of a Five-Year State Plan, which aims to “improve independence, productivity and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families in community life.” The Five-Year State Plan will be developed by a council selected by the governor and will create grant proposals for identified problem areas. The survey, which is available here, is open until January 31, 2020. If you are an individual with a disability, a parent or guardian of an individual with a disability, or a related stakeholder, consider completing this survey to voice your opinion about priority areas that are important to you.

For more information, click here.

Fall Break Reminder

As a reminder, Fall Break is this week on Thursday, October 10th and Friday, October 11th. Students have these days off, which should be reflected in the Google calendar. The TOPS Office will still be open. If you have any concerns or questions, contact the office.

Enjoy your break!

Research Opportunity: Accessibility of Research

See below for information about a research study that may be of interest.

“We are looking for adults with intellectual disability to participate in a brief research study at the Ohio State University Nisonger center. Individuals with intellectual disability face barriers to successfully entering and benefiting from participation in research. One of those barriers is the informed consent forms used, which are written in legalistic jargon with advanced vocabulary that make them difficult to understand. The goal of our project is to successfully adapt the informed consent process so that more people with intellectual disability can meaningfully participate in and benefit from research.

The study will take between one and two hours. We will pay you a $30 gift card and travel costs up to $20 for participating.

Interested or know someone who may be interested? Please email jesse.strickler@osumc.edu to learn more.​”

Click here to view the recruitment flyer

Research Opportunity: Seeking Participants for Research Study on Post-Secondary Success of People with an Intellectual and Developmental Disability

Do you have a job, go to school, or live on your own, and have an Intellectual and Developmental Disability? We want to hear from you!

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University are currently recruiting participants for a study (HM20016725) to better understand what helps people succeed in employment, post-secondary education, and/or independent living.

Your story of life after K-12 school can help increase awareness of the incredible possibilities life can hold for students with IDD. As a thank you for participation in a 60-minute interview, you will receive a $25 gift card.

Email Lindsay Kozachuk at kozachukl@vcu.edu today to see if you qualify!

Note: Participants must be 18 years or older, have IDD, and be employed, enrolled in post-secondary education, and/or living independently to qualify for participation in this study. Contact Laron Scott, Ph.D. at scottla2@vcu.edu for questions or concerns.

VCU Study Success Stories Recruitment Flyer