One integral part of the mission of the Westminster educational experience is community service. Often student organizations and classes become involved with projects that connect with the local community or a charitable organization.
On Tuesday, December 5, the Creative Movement Class, taught by Dr. Therese Miller from the Health and Exercise Science Department, participated in an event that brought students together with three local community sites.
For the past month students in the class have been developing creative movement/dance experiences for the Fulton Presbyterian Manor, Fulton Preschool, and the Callaway County Special Services Adult Enrichment Center. Tuesday morning the students met members from the three Fulton community sites at the Fellowship Hall on Court Street of the United Methodist Church to teach them these creative movement and dance routines at a Community Dance Party.
“Dr. Miller’s Creative Movements’ course helped me to be of service to the unique individuals at the Callaway County Special Services facility,” says junior Bailey Vaughn from Fulton, Missouri. “This community service project not only helped bring happiness and mobility into the lives of the individuals we taught but also helped us to learn about who we are as people and the impact of small deeds. As an education major, I was also able to improve my teaching abilities outside of my content area, which was great.”
“The community service learning project with Dr. Miller and her students was another great success,” says Julia Kaufman, Executive Director of Callaway County Special Services. “The people who attend the Enrichment Center look forward to their time with the students and have a better day when the students are with them. During the community dance session, a number of folks wanted to stay longer, enjoying the music and their new friends. The ribbon wands were especially popular—so much so that we’ll be ordering those for people to enjoy this winter.”
To add to the festivities, the Westminster students made gingerbread houses to represent the three community organizations as well as Westminster College. These edible creations were arranged in a community setting at the event as a centerpiece for the dance party.
Sophomore Sydney Pinkerton from Lee’s Summit, Missouri is another student who enjoyed the experience. “This class provided me with the new experience of connecting with my community,” she said. “Through service learning, I was able to make an impact on the lovely seniors at Presbyterian Manor. I taught them a few dance steps, and we all had a blast jamming out to Elvis together.”
“For Callaway County Special Services, the long-term relationship with Westminster College and Dr. Miller’s service learning classes has enriched the lives of people with developmental disabilities and has improved the quality of services CCSS offers to the nearly 20 individuals who choose the Enrichment Center,” says Kaufmann. “Research by the Center Disease Control and Prevention indicates that more than half of adults with disabilities engage in no leisure-time activities, resulting in a sedentary lifestyle. The ‘Creative Movement’ class offered by Dr. Miller helps keep everyone active, engaged and socializing with people in the community. We are grateful to Dr. Miller for her commitment to building a community where everyone is valued.”