Jacob is a business major at Daemen College, with a minor in accounting. He is an only child from New Jersey, where he insists there are the best diners. Jacob cares deeply about a number of causes. What inspires Jacob is “just trying to make the world a better place.” He believes very strongly that people deserve equal rights, regardless of gender, religion, sexuality or race. We are, after all, “the same species.”
I asked Jacob where his fervent desire to promote equal rights comes from. Its genesis is fairly recent, I learned. In January of 2012, Jacob learned there was going to be a blackout on Wikipedia to draw attention to proposed legislation called SOPA and PIPA; if these bills had passed, many believe Internet censorship would have resulted. This issue, dear to Jacob’s heart, led him to read about Avaaz. He increasingly began to read about political issues, environmental problems, people’s rights and animals’ rights.
At times, Jacob despairs that too many problems exist in the world. He said it took awhile before he realized there are “good news” websites, too. Reading articles in those sites, and talking with people he trusts, help Jacob to put the world’s challenges in perspective.
Jacob’s interests are “reading online fan fiction, sleeping, eating pizza, and trying to find good entertainment on TV and in films.” Jacob believes that “Hollywood is not what it used to be!” Jacob also thinks there is not enough good science fiction out there that shows “what we can accomplish and how we would interact with the supernatural.” In fact, Jacob would like to go into outer space himself, if the opportunity presents itself.
Jacob is doing an internship at Autism Services, Inc. in their business office. Jacob enthused,” I love it [there]! The people are wonderful.” Regarding his supervisor, Mike Samulski, he said, “I have one of the best bosses ever!” Jacob likes the work because it centers around numbers. At ASI, he can “use his best skills.”
“I find CIP very pleasant,” Jacob noted. “There are people to talk to, so I can vent. I especially like talking to Gina [our residential coordinator] because she is young and educated. I also talk with Bill a lot; he is my roomie.” Despite his misgivings last spring, Jacob acknowledges that he has “grown to like our new center” at 4511 Harlem Road. Jacob characterized Daemen as a “lovely college with lovely and intelligent people who are willing to help me work to the best of my ability.” All in all, he is very happy here at CIP Amherst.
Jacob loves classic animation. If he could be any cartoon character, he initially said he would be Bugs Bunny. Jacob thinks Bugs Bunny is very funny, and he thinks he is Jewish, since he “acts Jewish.” On further consideration, Jacob said he’d also like to be Superman, since he was always fighting for the little guy. “I would like to be like that.”
After CIP, Jacob can imagine himself continuing to live in Amherst, NY, or possibly back in his home state of New Jersey. He pictures himself “bookkeeping, which is a very dignified job.” He thinks it “would be nice to live with other people, possibly in a rooming house of some sort.” I imagine many good things are in store for Jacob, who is such a bright, genuine, caring and humorous young man. I am glad it’s not time to say farewell to him yet. Jacob adds so much to CIP Amherst.
By Bethany Ensminger, CIP Berkeley Program Director
The Berkeley Center had it’s first Wellness Day of the 2012-2013 year yesterday. Alex got things kicked off with a great up-beat activity. It started with basic calisthenics and then moved into some fun races.
Students were racing staff doing crab walks, spider crawls and other zaney movements. In honor of National Yoga month, our Therapist Ken led a great yoga session for students and staff. Ken challenged all with some great moves and everyone really gave it their best.
A great calm came over the group as they became more and more focused on their poses. Next Yasin led everyone in a boot camp style work out and Kyla rounded out the day with a nice meditation. It was a fun day for all!
The CIP Brevard Center begins a new semester and we welcome both new and returning students. The first few weeks of the semester are exciting as staff, new students and returning students get to know each other.
These first weeks can also be stressful. First-year students face the challenge of taking on new responsibilities and learning to cope with separation from their families. It can be difficult but it’s the first step in making progress to fulfill the goal of living independently.
We welcome our new students Jonathan B., Harrison D., Rebecca G., Sarah R., Carlos R., Alex W., Matt W. and Mariano W.. We also welcome back our returning students Emily A., Taylor B., Dave F., Ross M., Charlie N., Thomas S., Zach S. and Colin Z..
I have had a great experience at CIP so far but there are a few moments that really made my time here shine. I’ve enjoyed the Grill N’ Chills, the weekend activities, and Social Thinking the most. I also love what we do in Wellness. But out of all these activities—Wellness, Social Thinking, Grill N’ Chill and the weekend activities—there’s one in each of these categories that outdoes the rest.
The weekend activities are really fun, but I admit that I do have a couple favorites out of all of them. One of them was the trip to Disney World. That was a BLAST! I got to ride a lot of the rides and see most of the attractions I wanted to see including some that I didn’t think I would enjoy. I wound up liking them anyway. For example, I didn’t think I’d like the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride but it turned out to be pretty awesome. Another one of the weekend activities I enjoyed was the nature walk at Turkey Creek. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any manatees but I did see a turtle or two and lots of lizards.
I’ve had some pretty cool moments at some of the Grill N’ Chills, now known as Potlucks, too. My favorite Grill N’ Chill was one of the most recent ones that was held at the CIP Center. We got to play video games. I had a blast playing Super Smash Brothers.
I really loved the things we did in Social Thinking. Sometimes, we went out to local restaurants, and at other times, we played board games or card games. One of my favorite games was Catchphrase and the other was card game called Apples-to-Apples. You cannot play that game without laughing.
In addition to Social Thinking, I also loved some of the Wellness activities. For example, we recently went to Wickham Park and played Frisbee Golf. That was fun…although I kept accidentally hitting a couple of people with the Frisbee. Another one of my favorite Wellness activities was playing tennis near Wickham Park. Well, I guess you could call it tennis. We don’t really play the actual game—we mostly just hit tennis balls around but it was still fun.
If you asked me to pick a single favorite moment at CIP, you would be asking me the wrong question because I honestly could not pick ONE single activity as my favorite. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed my time at CIP so far…quite the opposite. It’s the fact that I’ve had so many favorite moments at CIP that I can’t narrow it down to just one single “favorite” moment. In hindsight, I’ve had a blast at CIP and I’m looking forward to next semester when I can collect even more favorite CIP moments.
By Vicki Glynn, Academic Coordinator, Head Student Advisor
Bill, a lifelong resident of South Buffalo, is currently a junior at Daemen College majoring in Social Work and has been elected to Daemen’s Social Work Department’s Social Work Alliance. He is a second year student at CIP Amherst. Bill is extremely involved in the social work community at Daemen as well as the CIP community.
He was instrumental in the organization of the yearly social work department dinner at Daemen, acquiring many donations from local merchants for raffle prizes. Many of his professors and classmates have encouraged him to run for President of the Social Work Association.
Every July for the past six years, South Buffalo has hosted the Seneca Street Car Show which features automobiles from antiques through classic sports cars of the 1960s and 70s.
A former neighbor and close friend of Bill’s founded the Car Show Association. A South Buffalo business owner, she previously purchased a local ice cream shop to save it from going under, and is also directly involved in many community organizations. Bill credits this friend as inspiring him to go into the field of social work so that he in turn can help others.
For the past two summers, Bill has volunteered to help publicize the car show. This summer, he assisted with reorganizing the website, and served as the official photographer for the car show. Bill became involved in this project to assist in the process of revitalizing a once-thriving neighborhood, and in his own words because “It was just the right thing to do.”
Bloomington Center students worked with textiles in art class this summer, experimenting with different colors and dye patterns. They learned different techniques using materials such as rubber bands, marbles, and wooden blocks to create unique works of art.
Throughout the semester, they gained a broader sense of color mixing and a greater insight to the ways in which to change a plain fabric. Students had fun creating their own shirts at the end of the season and using color and folding, twirling, and wrapping to express themselves through the art of textile dyeing.
On Saturday June 23rd, the students from the Amherst Program traveled across the border to Toronto, Canada. The day started off at the famous CN Tower where the students traveled up one of the tallest buildings in the world.
Even the students and staff with a fear of heights were able to overcome their fears by stepping on a glass floor where people can see the spectacular city of Toronto. After the CN Tower, we began to explore the city of Toronto on foot. We walked through many different events, including a jazz festival, and visited China Town, the Kensington Markets, and the heart of downtown Toronto.
One of the students said “I wish everywhere was like the Kensington Markets.” He said it was very peaceful and that everyone was very friendly and happy. Each student chose a few different places to visit, and everyone was able to experience something new. Around dinner time we headed to the famous Spaghetti Factory, where everyone was pleased with their meals and the free bread.
Since some of the students had never heard of IKEA (another famous store), we stopped there on the way home. Our students that love to shop were very impressed, and many of us bought a dollar ice-cream cone. The trip was a great success and we even got our physical activity in by walking at least five miles that day.
CIP Berkshire students were excited to attend a Boston Red Sox home game a week before the 100th anniversary of Fenway park.
Rachel M.’s parents, Martha and Don, had caught wind of the trip and surprised students by inviting them to a pre-game picnic at their home in Winchester. The group was eager to meet Rachel’s family, and appreciative of the generous invitation.
Students talked up Red Sox history on the way to Rachel’s house, and were met with a warm welcoming upon arrival. We lucked out with nearly perfect weather and the Martin’s offered us our choice of delicious food including burgers, chicken, salad, drinks and chips. Rachel’s dogs quickly grabbed the attention of students, along with the hosts, and Don sat with us and talked Red Sox games and the importance of the 100th anniversary.
Everyone really enjoyed the food and company of the Martin’s, and after Rachel made us all cookies we left for Alewife station. Student Andy C. was instrumental to our understanding of the entire navigation process of the subway system, from purchasing Charlie cards to our arrival at Fenway Park.
Once outside the ballpark we met up with Kyle P.’s younger sister Cassandra, who living nearby, wanted to seize the opportunity to spend a few moments with her brother and meet his friends. We all stuck together and found our seats, before students took off to enjoy Fenway’s a menities such as their famous Fenway Franks and centennial memorabilia.
Initially,we were disappointed that Tampa Bay had 4 runs on the Sox in the first Inning, but we couldn’t have anticipated what was to become of this ballgame. Shorty thereafter, Jackie P.’s uncle surprised her with various Red Sox gear, making a point to help Jackie’s first visit to Fenway be an unforgettable experience. It in fact was a memorable experience for many, as some of the student’s had never been to Fenway Park.
The excitement quickly escalated when the Red Sox made a turn around, evening up the score with the Rays. This brought a thrill to an uneasy crowd, and soon the oldest stadium in history lifted our spirits up and off the bleachers when the Sox started slugging homeruns out of the park.
We were lucky enough to see the Red Sox play their best game of the season to date, winning 13 to 5. The crowds were heavy leaving the park, but our hearts were light, and we had a safe trip back to the train station. It was a big day for us, and the students were exhausted on the ride back, but we all had peace of mind knowing the home team had taken a victory.
In April, eight CIP Berkshire students visited New York City and had the chance to see the 9/11 memorial, watch the construction of the Freedom Towers, walk down Wall Street and more. Here are some of the images from their trip!
By Yasin Johnson, Residential Coordinator, CIP Berkeley
CIP Berkeley had their third successful spring break trip. This year’s trip was to our Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C.
Led by myself, CIP Berkeley Residential Coordinator Yasin Johnson, students had seven days of continuous fun, excitement, and educational experiences. Some of this year’s activities included tours of numerous museums such as the National Air & Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, and the Spy Museum.
Furthermore, students took a tour of the historic and famous Arlington Cemetery, saw the numerous monuments and even had an opportunity to take pictures with WWII veterans.
Between sightseeing, touring, and posing with former war veterans, students also had an opportunity to taste many of the different ethnic cuisines that DC had to offer. From organic, pastured beef at Black and Orange’s in DuPont Circle to Chinese food, there were a wide variety of foods that were sampled in DC.
Students returned home exhausted, happy, and a bit disappointed that they could not extend their stay, but pleased that they were able to attend. Discussions have began about possible destinations for spring break in 2013.
The Berkshire Center’s Student Senate did a great job planning and decorating for the Annual Valentine’s Day Dance, which was located on the third level of 40 Main Street this year. The Student Senate divided off a section by the end door for their “DJ Booth,” and made room for a dance floor.
Students volunteered to help set up the sound system and test it out ahead of time so things would run smoothly during the Dance. Once students began arriving, The Senate President and Multimedia Manager and Advisor kept the music going and took requests from students.
Student’s had a lot of fun dancing and getting rid of some of that cabin fever energy. The senate hosted several games and activities, such as “Match the Heart”, the “Paper Dance,” guess the number of jelly beans to win the bag and of course a 50/50 raffle to help raise money for the Senate, and other prizes.
The students raised almost $50 with the help of staff and students selling tickets. A Magic Game emerged in the adjacent room for students that might experience sensory overload or prefer a quieter environment but still would enjoy socializing with other students at the Dance. Also, several students and even staff joined in on a fun game of Apples to Apples, while other students were dancing.
The planning paid off as many students showed up (more than 30), and the party went for hours. Everyone’s help, students and staff, made the dance possible. Keep up the good work and thank you everyone who volunteered their time helping with the Dance.