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Hello kind krafters! I hope everything is great with everyone. Today I want to talk to you about a program here at Acadia that I volunteer with every Saturday for the last two years, that program is S.M.I.L.E!
“The Acadia S.M.I.L.E. (Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience) Program is an innovative, academic-based, yet volunteer-driven program that provides persons with varying disabilities a unique physical activity experience in order to improve their total development as individuals.”
At S.M.I.L.E every week students volunteer and get matched with a buddy who could have a variety of disabilities and get to work on cognitive, motor and social skills. S.M.I.L.E has so many days offered for volunteering as they run Tuesday and Thursday morning as well as Friday night and Saturday morning. Having this one on one volunteer experience at S.M.I.L.E is the highlight of my week.
A typical day at S.M.I.L.E starts off by our buddies arriving at the athletic complex and we continue on by working on individual skills based on the participant including activities in the gym including trampolines, building blocks, matt activities and swings. Participants also love the music therapy room, walks around the track, skating and we finish off our days by heading to the pool for more activities.
An individual education plan is developed for each of our buddies that includes: “water orientation; physical fitness activities to improve strength, endurance and flexibility; and perceptual motor programs to enhance development of body awareness, spatial awareness, temporal awareness and sport skills”. All of this is done in such a safe fun way and it is most definitely Acadia Universities biggest volunteering experience and it is such an awesome program that I am proud to be apart of.
Having the opportunity to volunteer every week and be able to expand my leadership skills, teaching skills and having an opportunity to make someone feel special for a few hours on Saturday is sincerely the best feeling. I have learned so much from these participants and they help discover things in myself that I never knew existed. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to volunteer with S.M.I.L.E.
Working with children with disabilities is most definitely a passion of mine and I am so excited to continue with S.M.I.L.E and see where these volunteer experiences take me! All of the S.M.I.L.E participants are truly the best.
All photos are from the Acadia S.M.I.L.E website which you should all check out!
Talk soon kind krafters!