TOPS Summer Skills Workshops

Join us for our 2021 Summer Skills Workshops, sponsored by The Ohio State University Nisonger Center’s TOPS Program. These interactive sessions run from 9:00am to 1:30pm on OSU’s Main Campus.

COST: $60 per workshop; 3 or more for $50 each

See the class descriptions below for more information:

Tuesday, June 22nd: Technology 1 + Thursday, June 24th: Technology 2

In a personalized, two-part session, these classes will address common technology needs and concerns of participating students. Common skills that may be addressed are email, internet navigation and safety, Microsoft programs, smartphone & tablet apps for daily life, and more.

Tuesday, June 29th: Grocery Shopping & Couponing

Students will learn how to prepare for an navigate the ins and outs of grocery shopping – with the session ending in a trip to the grocery store for a fun, interactive scavenger hunt. Students will also learn how to compare prices, determine needs vs. wants, and how to use coupons properly.

Thursday, July 1st: Eating Out on a Budget

Students will learn the proper etiquette of choosing, ordering, and consuming a healthy, budget-friendly meal at a restaurant. Table manners, tipping, and other skills will also be addressed and practiced. This session ends with lunch at a local restaurant to practice what has been learned.

Tuesday, July 6th: Safety and Community Preparedness

Students will learn how to be alert and prepared for staying safe in a community setting, including how to properly respond to possible threats or emergencies. Students will also learn how to safely navigate various transportation options in the community and the basics of self-defense and triage when encountering a potential dangerous situation.

Thursday, July 8th: Travel Training and Navigation

Students will learn how to safely and efficiently navigate using the COTA bus system, including determining the most appropriate route, bus etiquette, and troubleshooting. This session includes supervised time spent on COTA buses to practice navigational skills.

Tuesday, July 13th: Personal Wellness 1 + Thursday, July 15th: Personal Wellness 2

In a personalized, two-part session, these classes will address common wellness needs and concerns of participating students. Common skills that may be addressed are healthy eating and nutrition, developing and maintaining a successful exercise routine, navigating healthy relationships, personal hygiene, and more.

Tuesday, July 20th: Basics of Kitchen Safety

Students will learn the basics of kitchen safety in regards to food preparation, such as knife safety, stove-top cooking, and proper cleaning etiquette. Students will also learn about common foodborne illnesses and how to prevent them.

Thursday, July 22nd: Making Healthy Meals & Snacks

Students will learn how to discover and prepare simple healthy meals and snacks in their home kitchens. Students will learn how to follow basic recipes and how to determine the nutritional value of oven- and stove-less meals and snacks.

For more information, please email

Caregiver Support Network: Resilience Building and Resource Sharing

Caregiving flyer for state-wide use

You are invited to join the Caregiver Support Network at The Ohio State University for an important discussion on caregiver burnout, telemedicine, useful gadgets and technology. Learn about caregiver self-care, managing burnout, stress, mental health, connecting with resources and more!

 Who should attend: 

  • Family members caring for an adult or senior with chronic illness or disability
  • Adult children concerned about aging parents
  • Parents caring for adult children with disabilities
  • Long term workers: assisted living facility, adult family home or home care agency staff
  • Social service, adult day service or mental health professionals who work with family caregivers


Saturday, February 22 at 1 p.m. (Check-in starts at 12:30 p.m.)


  • $10 Individuals • $20 Exhibitor tables (see website for details)


  • Akron • Athens • Caldwell • Columbus • Fremont • Lebanon • Ottawa





Laura Akgerman at 614-292-0622 or

Back in Action

Happy Summer!

After focusing on our Facebook page for outreach the past few years, we are going to be turning back to this platform for updates and goings-on for the OSU TOPS Program.

A few updates since our last post in February 2016:

  • On May 3rd, the program graduated three students – Natalie, Jamie, and Megan – all of whom have paid community employment! We are so proud of our graduates and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors. Photo of TOPS graduates and faculty at TOPS graduation on May 3, 2018.
  • On April 27th, TOPS students and staff collaborated with the Van Buren Shelter on the bi-annual TOPS Day of Service to help prepare their Garden of Hope for the season. Students assisted with mulching, weeding, and planting of fruit bushes. Their hard work was rewarded with a delicious visit to North Market!

TOPS Students at the Van Buren Shelter's Garden of Hope.

  • In June, the TOPS program will be welcoming 13 students to campus for the annual Campus Orientation and Transition Assessment (COTA) program. Ten of the young men and women are incoming TOPS students and the program will be their first taste at campus life!

Access Thy Academic Center

calendar on iPad

One of my main focuses as the TOPS Academic Coordinator has been to help establish the Academic Center as an openly available resource for students who might need designated time to work on school- or work-related tasks. Over the past year, the Academic Center has moved from a tiny room to our new hub of academic success in McCampbell Hall Room 251, complete with computers, a chalkboard, and other helpful resources. We have also added evening hours for students who may have busy daytime schedules.

One of our most valuable resources available in the Academic Center is our team of volunteer tutors. This semester, with a group of 20+ tutors, there is always someone to help students with tasks such as reading textbooks, prompting ideas for papers or reflections, and getting into the habit of making sure all assignments are completed. Tutors have also helped to practice speeches, assist in making notecards for an upcoming exam, and to help recall information for a class.

There is always something that a student can work on in the Academic Center! For example:

  • Practice answering interview questions
  • Check the course syllabus to see what events/assignments are coming up
  • Review previously read chapters in the textbook to check understanding
  • Work on assignments for the SLC courses
  • Edit resume
  • Plan social events for the TOPS Social Calendar
  • Research fun and engaging community service ideas
  • Find OSU student clubs and organizations that may be of interest
  • AND, it never hurts to get ahead in schoolwork!

I highly encourage students to challenge themselves to complete some of the above activities to make sure that they use their Academic Center time productively! A student can and should take advantage of the tutoring center even if it’s not during a time when he or she is scheduled to be there. I am very proud to see that attendance in the Academic Center has become more and more consistent, which tells me that students are taking charge of their own academic success!

Still not sure when the Academic Center is open? Here is the schedule for your reference:

  • MONDAY: 10:00am – 2:30pm; 5:00pm – 8:00pm
  • TUESDAY: 10:00am – 2:30pm; 5:00pm – 8:00pm
  • WEDNESDAY: 10:00am – 2:30pm
  • THURSDAY: 10:00am – 2:30pm
  • FRIDAY: 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • WEEKEND: closed