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SOAR Program Mentioned in Times-Tribune
SOAR students enjoy learning on the campus of Marywood University.
To celebrate Autism Awareness month, Dr. Patricia Arter and the Students On-Campus Achieving Results program (SOAR) for students with autism have been featured in the Times-Tribune. As part of an article about life with autism in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, reporter John O'Connell visited the SOAR classroom on the Marywood Campus and interviewed NEIU teacher Mr. Jack Kirby, as well as Dr. Arter, who directs the SOAR program. SOAR is an innovative transition program preparing teenagers with Autism for the workforce while giving them a chance to learn, excel, work and make friends in a college campus setting. Marywood University student volunteers, mostly education and school psychology students, are regularly involved as job coaches and social coaches for the teenagers with autism in the program. This partnership between the NEIU and Marywood University make a significant difference in the lives of the students who graduate from the SOAR program. As part of the article, O'Connell reports that "of the 22 SOAR graduates, Marywood has been able to keep in touch with 13 of them....Ten are gainfully employed, one volunteers regularly and two are unemployed." To read more of the article in the Times Tribune, click here.
Prof. Lukus Wins Local School Board Election
Marywood University Education Professors are passionate about education not just at Marywood, but in their communities as well. Neighboring communities are taking notice!
Prof. Bernice Lukus was recently elected to a vacancy on the Forest City Regional School District Board of Education as School Director. Concerned about the quality of education for district children, including a grandson in the elementary school, Prof. Lukus wanted greater involvement in decisions about upcoming changes impacting the school district. Her election suggests her community expects her experienced voice and rich background in education will further strengthen the program of studies at Forest City Regional School District, with its mission of preparing "students to be lifelong learners, critical problem-solvers, and responsible, productive citizens."
Appreciation for SOAR
Dr.Patricia Arter (founder and director of SOAR), Ms. LIsa Walters (SOAR para-educator) and Kristin Samsell (Special Education Supervisor, NEIU) accepted the award from Ms. Kathleen Walsh (Founder and President of PLCTA)
A close up of the award received from the Parents Loving Children Through Autism Foundation.
Dr. Patricia Arter and Dr. Frank DeMatteo trained and certified their dogs, Mocha and Moose, as therapy dogs in the local Welcome Waggers chapter through Therapy Dogs International.
Therapy Dogs International (TDI®) is a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating, testing and registration of therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, other institutions and wherever else therapy dogs are needed. Therapy dogs have been found to reduce anxiety, stress, and improve overall mood of those they visit. Mocha and Moose have recently visited the sisters at Our Lady of Peace and homesick freshmen at Nazareth Hall.
Additionally, the dogs participate in the Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Read to the Dogs program. The main objective of this program is to provide a relaxed and “dog-friendly” atmosphere, which allows students to practice the skill of reading. Many of the children chosen for this program have difficulties reading and as a result have developed self-esteem issues. They are often self-conscious when reading aloud in front of other classmates. By sitting down next to a dog and reading to the dog, all threats of being judged are put aside. The child relaxes, pats the attentive dog, and focuses on the reading. Reading improves because the child is practicing the skill of reading, building self-esteem, and associating reading with something pleasant.