A new partnership between the D155 STRIVE program and McHenry County College gives STRIVE students an opportunity to interact with their peers on a college campus. The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program promotes social inclusion in schools and is designed to support engagement between special education and general education students through sports and activities.
"I just like meeting new people and having a bunch fun," said Alex Morris, STRIVE student.
The partnership began in September and will run for five weeks. Every Friday for one hour, students play bocce ball. They have learned the rules of the game and will have a competition during the fifth week. MCC student leaders, athletes, and those interested in pursuing an education career volunteer.
“I’ve attended every week. I definitely have met a lot of new people and I’m learning about them and to play bocce ball. It’s a nice way to start my day, said Katerina Koskiniotis, MCC student.
D155 provides transportation for students in place of their community field trips on Fridays, McHenry County College provides the space for students, and Special Olympics provides the equipment.
“We envision that this might grow into something more based on the interest of our students,” said Michele Witt, Prairie Ridge special education division lead.
The STRIVE (Students Training for Recreation, Independence, Vocation and Education) program at Prairie Ridge allows students receiving special education services to continue with District 155 from age 18 until the day before they turn 22. Students in the STRIVE program receive transition services and instruction to assist them in moving from school to adult life, including vocational training, adult education, independent living, and employment.