Samantha Brown Brown 1
Florida Gulf Coast University
Out-of-state Waiver Application
20 November 2010
As a first year student, I originally planned on joining the Best Buddies program here on campus. Unfortunately, upon arriving, I discovered that although Best Buddies was at one time working with FGCU, they no longer have any affiliation with our campus. Best Buddies is an organization that pairs up students with mentally challenged young adults. As a pair, the two keep in contact via snail mail as well as meet up at events the program sponsors, such as bowling or a movie. My goal is to create a club similar to Best Buddies here on campus by Spring 2011. I am currently in contact with Lisa Miller, the Director of Community Relations and Education at LARC. LARC is a special needs facility out of Fort Myers that provides opportunities for mentally disabled adults to live and work successfully within their community. Lisa and I have been discussing possible ideas for a club on campus that would involve the special needs students of LARC.
I see this as a leadership opportunity for several reasons. For starters, it would help students gain a new perspective on mentally challenged individuals. I feel this opportunity would not only be beneficial for FGCU students but would also be a learning experience for both LARC and FGCU alike. I know the three years in high school I spent with Best Buddies taught me so much about being thankful and the true meaning of friendship.
Furthermore, I recently visited the LARC facility where I met up with Lisa. She not only gave me a tour of the LARC campus but also allowed me work hands-on with some of their students. She opened up my eyes to the world LARC has created. While there, I met a man named Roy. Roy is autistic, and has been a part of LACR since the late 1950s. Originally, Lisa told me that I could try to talk to him, but he usually only says, “Today is...