The first week of diversity days was a success for the Student Development Centre as students, staff, and members of the community turned out to express their interest in learning about Brock University’s diverse student body.The week’s events included a Staff Diversity Awareness Series meeting called Welcoming Our Gay/Lesbian Students, a Gathering Thunder Anishnabek Drum Meeting, and the Special Needs Activity Program (SNAP).
The SNAP program started in 1995 under the direction of Dr. Maureen Connolly of the physical education department at Brock. The program is organized by fourth year students who develop exercise programs for youth with special needs.
Jason Bonner, a fourth year student in the physical disabilities stream, emphasized the importance of “a fun time for kids that allows them to release stress.”
Bonner went on to say that many of these children don’t get a chance to participate in very much physical activity and it can make them more productive if they have the opportunity to release some of that energy in a positive way. He says he is also working on research that may lead to starting an intramural student wheelchair basketball league.
“We would be looking to get a league started which would include both able and disabled individuals,” Bonner explained.
Shea McEvoy, a fourth-year student, said, “this is run by 10 student volunteers from all streams of physical education including kinesiology, movement studies, and disabilities.” He said that about 100 to 120 children participate in the event which takes place about 10 times a year. Children enjoy a wide range of activities, including hockey, trampoline jumping, and a parachute activity all under close supervision.
“This is a community outreach program. Some children are referred from local schools but there are students from all parts of the Niagara Region participating in the event,” McEvoy said.
The program’s goal is to put children with special needs in a Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), which focuses on the needs of each individual involved.
Important events next week include Pride Week Film Nights, minority-centered presentations, Gay Histories, and the Hand Drum Making Workshop.