Ohio Dominican University Co-Hosts Event for Adults with Disabilities

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 Columbus, OH (43219) – Education majors in Ohio Dominican University’s (ODU’s) Adults with Disabilities class are partnering with the Association for the Developmentally Disabled (ADD) to plan and sponsor the organization’s first-ever Winter Ball. The event will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., March 30 in ODU’s Bishop James A. Griffin Center, located at 1216 Sunbury Road in Columbus. 

Maryalice Turner, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the University’s Education Division, teaches the Adults with Disabilities course, which is designed for intervention specialists. 

“The goal of the class is to learn more about the needs, desires, support systems and issues surrounding adults with disabilities,” Turner said. “Students volunteer for 25 hours in events and activities with this population.” 

The Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities serves approximately 400 members between the ages of 18 and 70, according to Shawna Spanel, the organization’s Recreation Coordinator. The primary goal is to provide members the opportunity to be involved in meaningful activities that help develop friendships, promote self-esteem and create an opportunity for learning. 

“The individuals for whom we have the pleasure of providing unique opportunities, are very excited about the Winter Ball,” Spanel said. “This is a brand new event for all of us. We would not be able to make it a reality without the help of our community, namely Professor Turner’s Education 260, Adults with Disabilities class.” 

Michael Newsome, a sophomore Education major, has enjoyed the challenge of organizing the ball. “This project is an example of service learning,” Newsome said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to work together to help someone else.” 

Spanel anticipates that 150 ADD members will attend the Winter Ball. In addition to planning the event, Turner’s students contacted sponsors for donations and conducted a prom dress drive to ensure the members have what they need to enjoy the formal event.  

According to Chauntelle Craig, a junior Education major, in addition to her classmates, other University offices supported the project. “Khadija Adams, ODU’s volunteer service coordinator in the Office of Campus Ministry, has helped us solicit donations of prom dresses, suits and other accessories, as well as storing the items for us,” Craig explained. 

Amber Linton, a senior Education major, noted the support of outside sponsors. “Rockwood Cleaners in Gahanna has donated bags and hangers for prom dresses and suits,” Linton said. “They’ve also sent emails to their customers requesting donations and have offered to steam clean the clothing.” 

Senior Education major Joel Duffy summarized his motivation for the project. “This event is important because adults with disabilities deserve the same rights and privileges as everyone else,” he said. 

Ohio Dominican University is a four-year private liberal arts institution, founded in 1911 in the Catholic and Dominican tradition. It has approximately 3,000 students and offers undergraduate degrees in 43 majors as well as seven graduate degree programs. Ohio Dominican uses a student-centered approach, with a commitment to quality teaching and learning.